Past the tipping point

By Steve Goddard

In 2007, Dr. Hansen boldly declared

“…defying government gag orders. Hansen told Reuters, quote, “The reason so much (of the Arctic ice) went suddenly is that it is hitting a tipping point that we have been warning about for the past few years.”

and Mark Serreze placed the blame squarely on CO2.

“…the effects of greenhouse warming are now coming through loud and clear.”

So let’s see how the greenhouse gas induced tipping point is working out. By this date in 1990, there was already a large hole in the ice in the Laptev Sea (upper right, near Siberia.) Watch the video:
Generated from UIUC maps.

Solar radiation in the Arctic is very close to it’s peak by May 25, so there was a lot of solar energy being absorbed through the ice in the Arctic ocean by this date in 1990.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/images/annual_solar_insolation.png

Sea ice concentration is considerably higher now than it was on this date 20 years ago.


Generated from UIUC maps.

This means higher albedo (reflectance) and less absorption of solar energy. Note in the insolation graph above, that by the end of July the amount of sunshine in the Arctic begins to drop off very quickly.

You can see in the JAXA graph above that the 2007 divergence occurred in late July after Arctic insolation was already shutting down, essentially nullifying the Arctic albedo feedback argument. The Arctic minimum comes too late in the summer to have  a significant impact on the radiation budget, due to the very low angle sun at that time. In fact, CERES has measured that during September 2008, the Arctic net radiation balance was strongly negative. The open water loses heat to the atmosphere (because it is not insulated by ice)  meaning that declining ice cover is probably a negative feedback, not a positive one. NASA’s Earth Observatory explains:

This map (below) of net radiation (incoming sunlight minus reflected light and outgoing heat) shows global energy imbalances in September 2008, the month of an equinox. Areas around the equator absorbed about 200 watts per square meter more on average (orange and red) than they reflected or radiated. Areas near the poles reflected and/or radiated about 200 more watts per square meter (green and blue) than they absorbed. Mid-latitudes were roughly in balance. (NASA map by Robert Simmon, based on CERES data.)

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/images/ceres_net_radiation_200809.jpg

Looks like the Arctic is less tipped than it was 20 years ago. It is a shame that Dr. Hansen feels like he is gagged, when he has such important information needed to save the planet.

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203 thoughts on “Past the tipping point

  1. ……defying government gag orders. Hansen told…..

    What a weird mind James Hansen has.

  2. “…the effects of greenhouse warming are now coming through loud and clear.”

    What a weird mind Mark Serreze has. ;-)

    Do either of these gentlemen know the 60’s are gone?

    BTW, where’s pictures of polar bears?? ;-) Prophetic statements from ‘manmade global warming’ say the polar bear population is supposed to be shrinking, like Arctic ice. But actually it’s growing.

  3. There’s quite a bit of that record NH snow still hanging around.

    I really appreciate the videos. They tell an easy to see story! :-)
    Even the trolls will be able to understand. ;-)

  4. hmmmmmm actual things that HAVE reached the tipping point.

    Hansen’s credibility

    Mark Serreze’s credibility – and hopefully career

    the IPCC’s credibility – and hopefully future

    Belief in the Global Warming Crisis

    Belief that CO2 is a pollutant

    etc, etc, etc.

  5. Oh dear, OT I’m afraid, but I clicked on the ad above about how to offset my carbon emissions (in the hope it helps to generate income for wuwt) and was told the following:
    “Global warming is a serious environmental threat and a moral crisis. Buying high-quality carbon offsets can help us take more responsibility for our personal emissions.”

    I shall go out immediately to my 24hr store and see if they have any high-quality charcoal biscuits. My family will be well pleased with the consequent reduction in my personal emissions.

  6. Please, it’s “its”, not “it’s” when it’s the possessive case. “It’s” is short for “it is”, and nothing else.

  7. James Hansen is the same person who said President Bush was “silencing” him during the Bush-Kerry campaign. When it was explored by a few bloggers (not the media), it was discovered than Hansen was doing personal work on taxpayer time and what President Bush said to him was to do his job.

    James Hansen has no scruples or honor. He is like a politician because he has no qualms about lying whenever it fits his goals.

  8. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    May 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    BTW, where’s pictures of polar bears??

    Opps, I see by scrolling down the front page there is a story on polar bears.

  9. Perhaps Hansen is standing at the window of his Manhattan office pronouncing with all the understated solemnity of a self-important prophet that the perimeter road alongside the Hudson is to be submerged by the rising sea. Oh, that was thirty years ago? And that little tipping point was due some 10 years ago. Not a millimeter of difference. Another of Hansen’s wonderful, wonderful predictions. I predict…. he will be sharing a cell with Al.

  10. Dr. Hansen is famous for his tipping point nonsense.

    When it comes to temperatures, for the last 550 million years the Earth’s temperature has varied between 12C and 22C. (Scotese). About 22% of the time during that period temperatures topped-out at 22C; only about 6% of the time they bottomed-out at 12C. The atmosphere contains 750 Gigatons of carbon. If all the 4,000 GT of fossil fuel reserves were burned, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 would increase from 390 ppm to 2,470 ppm. The resulting logarithmic temperature increase would be 1.4C, which would increase the temperature from the present 14.5C to 15.9C. So after burning all our fossil fuels, we would wind up 39% off the bottom of the historic temperature range.

    So much for Dr. Hansen’s tipping points.

  11. Steve, as you (and most everybody else here on WUWT) well knows, we differ greatly in our perceptions of what the data says and what the condition of the arctic sea ice really is, but let me take just one thing you said in your opening post:

    “Sea ice concentration is considerably higher now than it was on this date 20 years ago.”

    First, looking at this chart, which represents the best continuous long term data we have:

    In looking at the trend line for anomalies, I see that on this date, May 25, 1990, it appears that the anomaly, while admittedly negative, was not nearly as negative as we are on May 25, 2010. How does this equate to your statement that sea ice concentraion in 2010 is “considerably higher” than in 1990, when it is showing a greater NEGATIVE anomaly than in 1990? There seems to be a major discrepancy between our perceptions…

    But furthermore, in looking at this trend chart:

    I don’t see how someone, even the most elementary chart reader, could not easily see what the longer term trend has been in the sea ice since long before 1990, even going back to the 1960’s— it’s been down, slowly, but perceptively spiraling down.

    Now some people might be confused about what a “death” spiral is, and specifcally what it might look like as sea ice declines. It means it doesn’t go straight down, but has a few down years, and then a few up years…sort of 2 steps forward and then 1 step back, then 3 steps foward, and 2 steps back, then 1 step foward and 2 steps back…pretty simple. In the charts above, and multiple other data sets, this is exactly what arctic sea ice has been doing for many decades…hence the reason why people like myself fully believe what Dr. Mark Serreze and Dr. Hansen, and numerous others are saying about the sea ice. We see it in the data. And when people like you try to suggest that somehow something else is happening, when the data doesn’t support it…well, it makes me quite suspicious of why you’d want to suggest that somehow this year’s concentration is “considerably higher” than 1990. I just fail to see how you and I can look at the exact same data, and see two different realities. It probably gets to the heart of why I’ve been projecting since March (even during the highly touted “bump up” episode, that we’ll end up somewhere less than 2008-2009 in the arctic sea ice minimum this year, and you’ve stated you think we’ll be greater than either of those years. I guess we just see the conditions is the Arctic through completely different lenses, but one thing is for certain, time will tell which one is the most accurate…

  12. “The open water loses heat to the atmosphere (because it is not insulated by ice) meaning that declining ice cover is probably a negative feedback, not a positive one.”

    The heat would not have been in the water to radiate out if the ice had been there. The amount of energy radiating out of the dark ocean is less than the amount that would be reflected and radiated back by the white ice. Are you even trying to make sense?

  13. re RichieP: May 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    ……I clicked on the ad above…..

    (O/T)²: I’ve never seen one of those ads that people keep referring to. I do have ‘blockers’ installed on my habitual browser, but I’ve tried with two other ‘unprotected’ browsers and can’t see them either. Not that I want to be inundated with ads, of course, just curious. Any know the details of how these work?

    /dr.bill

  14. In the past, ‘predicting’ cyclical events (such as eclipses), and passing them off as cataclysmic, but avoidable or redeemable by sacrifice, qualified one for a highly paid post in a religious organization.

    But apparently now such skills are marketable in scientific circles.

  15. Charles and Smokey,

    Thank you, gentlemen, for trying to keep us literate. IT’S a shame when a sentient being can’t handle ITS own language. The human race little realizes that IT’S likely to be ITS downfall one of these days. The tipping point draw’s nigh.

    dh

  16. It’s still obvious to me that looking at the AMSR-E Sea Ice Extent, shows that no one should be looking at the highs and lows. Those are the extremes, and mean very little.
    Arctic sea ice is very consistent every June/July and Nov/Dec, and that’s all that matters.

  17. If I had to bet everything I own I would back S Goddard, not Hanson et al.! actually I dearly wish I could have my money back Mr Goddard and not be thieved from me by the likes of Hanson and Serreze, they are fraudsters with a dishonest agenda and with luck will be enjoying the hospitality of a small American base on Cuba, with others who chose to make war in an underhanded way on the USA. Perhaps we should make a large tented camp site on the soon to be tropical paradise of Antarctica, up high as the sea will encroach the lower levels and send all the AGW crowd and their enablers and supporters in the political arena, to serve their penitude for crimes against humanity. It would not be cruel as they are so sure it will get hot they will bet your future on it.

  18. Again I wonder: How many times can one cry “wolf” over a 30 year period that continues today, before people recognize a Münchhausen?

  19. I was wondering how many of the recent scares are to do with improvements in our ability to monitor the natural world. We’ve previously assumed that, say, the amount of ice at the poles or the ozone layer is relatively constant – or at least that changes are very gradual – but suddenly in the last few decades we are able to see the detailed changes which have always previously happened unseen and assume that they are new. Consequence; panic.

    I suspect that the medical field is another area where this has happened, with equally hysterical consequences.

  20. Mike

    Try again. Heat is transported into the Arctic by currents from the Pacific and Atlantic. If you read the NASA article you would know that the Arctic radiates out more LW than it receives SW + LW.

    Instead of being rude, try using your brain.

  21. mack28 says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:04 pm
    Meantime back in Europe, as if the Icelandic ash clouds and the crashing euro weren’t enough, the self-flagellating climate commissars are poised to issue another edict:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7136639.ece

    Yep.
    The price of carbon crashed, and thats awkward, cos it means you can’t makes no Payolla offa the AGW BS.
    So, we MUST get back to cutting emissions ergo – issue more useless carbon credits, up their value, pass on the pain to johnny public,… get the speculators(gamblers) running bets on $/ton going up/down/sideways – and create a carbon bubble…cos we’re post normal and we passed the end of history, what could possibly go wrong?
    After which all those dubiously connected green gazillionaires and not-so-free-market traders can continue to roll around atop an emperor size bed, covered in our money, while snorting coal dust and coke of a $2000-an-hour hookers belly.
    Kinda have too, since the Euro is heading the way of ENRON, and global Sovereign Default is surely on the way.
    These loons are out to vacuum up the last scraps of wealth, and if they have to kill the worlds economy to do it, hell, its a small price to pay.

    /rant set to hibernate. (Restart required to install updates)

  22. Wade says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    James Hansen is the same person who said President Bush was “silencing” him during the Bush-Kerry campaign. When it was explored by a few bloggers (not the media), it was discovered than Hansen was doing personal work on taxpayer time and what President Bush said to him was to do his job.

    And it’s interesting that Obama seems to be in fact muzzling Hansen, because we don’t hear a peep out of him now about death trains, prosecuting CEO’s, etc.

  23. ZT says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Yes, but in those time, if you got it wrong they chopped your head off or sacrificed you.

  24. The sun has a negative elevation for a long period of each year in the arctic, and when it is not negative it never becomes very large. At midsummer it reaches a maximum of only 45 degrees elevation even in northern Alaska/Canada. Deep water is not especially dark at low angles, so the feedback is quite attenuated, even if the water were truly clear of ice.

    Walter Pitman and I had a brief exchange about this “feedback” at a seminar he gave in Laramie, Wyoming a few years ago. He proposed that the appearance of Polynya in the Arctic ocean is the trigger that ends ice ages — in effect arguing for the effectiveness of this positive feedback. I argued that open water in the Arctic at practically any time of year during an ice-age would probably radiate heat away quickly and refreeze. Neither of us made any impact on the thinking of the other. Does anyone here have thoughts on this matter?

  25. R. Gates: May 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm:

    I think the disconnect you appear to have with most of the non-troll posters on WUWT relates to your treating those lists and graphs as one might normally do, i.e. as information. When I look at them, my first thought is to see if I can figure out how they’ve been manipulated. Anything that has come within sniffing distance of Hansen or a large batch of others, probably has been. In essence, then, you still believe, and the rest of us don’t. We’ve been conned too often. No mystery.

    /dr.bill

  26. Not much light makes it into water at low angles. We are all very familiar with this in a practical sense.

    If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.
    Sir Francis Bacon

  27. BTW – if anyone wants to download the UIUC maps, here is the csh script I used and ran on Cygwin

    #!/bin/tcsh
    foreach date (01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25)
        wget "http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/199005${date}.png"
    end
    
    foreach date (01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25)
        wget "http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/201005${date}.jpg"
    end
  28. stevengoddard,

    What do you mean by ‘concentration’? All the figures that I have – JAXA, NSIDC – show that we are currently at the lowest or equal lowest ice extent for this time of year in the satellite record. (The reason I say ‘or equal lowest’ is that 2004 and 2006 were within the margin of error).

    So: can you explain specifically what you mean by ‘concentration’?

  29. R. Gates says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm First, looking at this chart, which represents the best continuous long term data we have:

    In looking at the trend line for anomalies, I see that on this date, May 25, 1990, it appears that the anomaly, while admittedly negative, was not nearly as negative as we are on May 25, 2010.

    Whoops! There was a bit of a cherry dip in the anomaly right there in early 1990! Well, I’m sure this year will turn out just the same as 1990, with that anomaly sliding right back up.

  30. The two animations make it obvious that there are UIUC shenanigans going on…

    1) Look at the size of Greenland… By making it much bigger, less sea ice!!!
    2) Look at numerous islands… The islands are bigger now!!! less sea ice…
    3) Look ar numerous bays, river outlets and coastlines…

    Do they really think no one will notice?!?!?!?

  31. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    R Gates,

    It is extremely clear from the maps that sea ice concentration is greater now than it was 20 years ago. Some trend, eh?

    There seems to have been more ice in the Barents and west of Greenland, and in Hudson Bay, from the maps. What kind of analysis did you do? A simple pixel analysis for color?

  32. Mike Bryant

    Good observations. There is a story behind the change in size of Greenland. A few years ago I wrote an article discussing a discrepancy between NIDC and UIUC maps. One of the discoveries that came out of that discussion was that the eye-elevation of the UIUC maps wasn’t what they thought it was, and they apparently corrected it. So post 2008 maps have a different perspective and do not line up exactly at lower latitudes.

    But it is nothing sinister.

  33. Cloud cover (whether it’s a positive or negative) was seen to increase in the last couple of decades. http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/detect/climate-clouds.shtml

    In my part of the world high pressure usually means clear skies and there’s been generally high pressure over the Arctic since the winter started. Not sure how you’d separate incoming from outgoing radiation, but there’s certainly been mostly clear skies over the Arctic since October.

  34. David Gould

    Extent is defined as a grid cell which has 15% ice (NSIDC) or 30% ice (DMI.) The UIUC map shows that the most of the Arctic Basin has close to 100% ice – i.e. little or no open water.

  35. craig james

    There was a lot more ice in 1990 in the Barents Sea. That is pretty much of a don’t care, because that ice always disappears in the summer anyway.

  36. craig james,

    I completely disagree. It is not obvious to me that the 1990 one shows more ice than 2010. It is made even more difficult by the fact that the second image (2010) is of a larger globe than the first (1990). Just eyeballing the image is not an objective measure of ice extent. It is clear from the data that 1990 had much less ice than 2010.

  37. Mike Bryant says:
    May 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Yes, I’ve noticed this too, and the images prior to 2007 are smaller, so there’s an optical illusion going on as well.
    I shall have to get out the Image Processing software and do some enlarging/blink-compare.

  38. >> R. Gates says:
    I don’t see how someone, even the most elementary chart reader, could not easily see what the longer term trend has been in the sea ice since long before 1990, even going back to the 1960′s— it’s been down, slowly, but perceptively spiraling down. <<

    How was Arctic sea ice measured before satellites?

  39. Changes in observation equipment and masks / methods of evaluating ice changes. Yes Mike Bryant they think no one will notice. Rewriting history is easy if you can keep the facts hidden!

  40. O/T but wondering if these figures are accurate:

    24 May: Politico: EPA can’t regulate climate change
    by SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-Wyo.), member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
    Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, for example, would require all stationary sources that emit more than 250 tons of carbon dioxide — a threshold that catches even small emitters — to apply for “prevention of significant deterioration” permits for new construction or modifications. The typical PSD permit costs an applicant approximately $125,000, according to the EPA’s own estimate, and takes roughly 866 hours to obtain. If America’s small businesses are forced to operate under these sorts of conditions, it will crush them.
    By June 7, the Senate has a chance to pass a resolution that would stop the EPA from regulating climate change through the Clean Air Act.
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37660.html

  41. OH! OH!, watch out for those ‘image adjustments’ isn’t that an option in Photoshop?

    Once more we have a principal member of the TEAM – Hansen – who should really buy a place in the country beside a major highway – get a large hand sign – some lighting for the sign – preferably flashing – and open a “palm” reading business.

    A fitting and proper use of his talents.

  42. craig james says:
    May 25, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    R Gates has ‘rotten’ views.

  43. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm
    Not much light makes it into water at low angles. We are all very familiar with this in a practical sense.

    Not to mention science still is in the still, snap of time mindset. They have not incorporated rotation and deflections( Planetary Mechanics).

  44. Looks like Stever got the term “concentration” right off the images he pointed to. The legend is labelled “sea ice concentration (%)”.

    For example, compare today (May 25) with May 25 of ’90:


    (open the above as new broswer tabs so you can flip back and forth)

    Notice the satellite is closer to the Earth in today’s image than it was 20 years ago. (Either that, or the Earth is suffering from CAGE: catastrophic anthropomorphic global enlarging). Therefore, comparing the images side-by-side is useless in terms of getting a feel for the comparative cap sizes. You could scale the images until the horizons of the Earths are the same, but that would be forgetting that the Earth is in 3D, and when cameras come closer to something the middle scales up faster than the edges. So I think you would have to project the 2D images to orbs, scale the orbs in 3D to match, then project those to 2D image before making a cap size comparison.

    But even if you did that, your missing the whole point of the images. Concentration has nothing to do with how big the ice cap is, or what shape it is, or whether or not the image is closer or farther. It is something measured all over the ice.

    It seems to me Goddard is saying “ice cream sure is sweeter than it used to be” and Gates is saying “no way, the scoops are definitely smaller than the good old days!”

    But I’m no expert.

  45. It’s getting worse – from the BBC 12 May 2009 “Huge Bolivian glacier disappears”. This “Huge glacier” “had in 1940 an area of 0.22 km², reduced to 0.01 km² in 2007 and was completely gone by 2009” (Wikipedia, Chacaltaya) – huge indeed.

    There’s a rural park near where I live that’s almost exactly the size (in 1940) of the “Huge Glacier” on Chacaltaya (which Wiki calls “a mountain range”- it’s a mountain, 5,421 m). The BBC says “Many Bolivians on the highland plains, and in two cities, depend on the melting of the glaciers for their water supply during the dry season”. They wouldn’t have got much water from THAT “Huge Glacier” then would they?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8046540.stm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chacaltaya

  46. The eye elevation changed starting with their September 12, 2009 image. It affects lower latitudes, but has almost no effect inside the Arctic Basin, which is what we care about wrt summer ice.

  47. 25 May: UK Telegraph: Richard Alleyne: Turning all cars electric in Britain needs boost in power supply
    Switching all cars in the country to electric would drain the National Grid of nearly a fifth of its capacity unless the equivalent of another six new nuclear power stations are built, claims a report.
    The Royal Academy of Engineering said that to convert the countries fleet of 30 million vehicles would increase current demand by 16 per cent or an extra 10 gigawatts of power…
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/7764110/Turning-all-cars-electric-in-Britain-needs-boost-in-power-supply.html

  48. Best DATA ?
    When someone does analyses in 2 Dimensions when 3 are available — it means the theory DOES NOT WORK FOR ALL 3.

    Look at the 60-year Cycle on the Volume Chart:

    … Low around 1950, low again NOW.
    It’s NOT thicker than 1990. Hansen used partial data to hoke up a Scare when it was ‘way thicker than 1950, and the Extent-users are using the SAME trick to say the reverse of what the data says, ie, that we are NOT close to the edge.
    Tipping, or Not ?
    DO the Math.
    With 5800 cubic km left last year at minimum, “our ” Present El Nino is a 1.8.
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml
    A 1.1 El Nino (peak) in 2007: melted 4000 km3 more than in 2006, leaving 6000 km3 ACCORDING TO SEASAT. And PLEASE do not try again to “win” a debate by distracting people with talk of who invented PIOMAS. Word-Tricks are NOT Science. Satellites, Ships, Planes ALL saw the Ice thinning. NO ONE saw it thicken in 2007.

    Loss: by year: 2007 Loss x 2010 El Nino/2007 El Nino
    Loss by km3: 4000 km3 x 1.8/1.1 = 6545 km3 loss
    From 5800 (Piomas) or 6000 km3 (Seasat)
    = a Negative Number.
    = Death, for 99% of Americans, as the currents stop.
    — OK, I only give it 25% … Because it may be going straight for it now but … it is the Weather. Will Katla Blow ? Did Cosmic Ray spikes increase Clouds ? (December was WICKED)
    http://cr0.izmiran.rssi.ru/oulu/main.htm (More Cloud=Less Sun = more Ice)
    Again, the currents may change but are they changing FROM a pattern ENOUGH like 11,000 years ago to get the same result = 300 mph winds ?
    …. Remember, even 1/4 the energy of 300 mph = “only” 150 mph sustained for 2 months = likely 225 mph gust = no Buildings survive outside the Tropics save the Pyramids.

    No civilization, no food, no Rescue, no Hope. It’ll take 30 years for the Trees to grow back so we can build huts.

    And to stop this costs 6 cents per American !

    Why are we playing this Right Wing vs. Left when the NUMBERS say … what they say (above) ? The President must DO something and WE are the people who have to tell him THIS IS A RISK.

    6 Billion Dead times 25% = 1.5 Billion AVERAGE dead.

    Cannot you admit that there is a POSSIBILITY that this Extra-strong El Nino happenning EXACTLY at the Low-Ice point of the 60-year cycle
    — COULD be a COLLOSSAL Killer ?

    Or will we go down with the Louisiana Governor that cancelled the Katrina Alert & kicked both FEMA & Amtrack out of the State because “Hurricanes miss 75% of the time” & people’ll be inconvenieced Usually ?

    I cannot even get ESA to use the advertised “flash” result feature of Cryosat 2, to verify thickness. 75% of the time, we live, so they figure: we deserve Scientific Priority of Publishing — so they are keeping all results SECRET until next September … that is: 2011 !

  49. Mike
    Except in rare circumstances that don’t apply here, all water already has more heat in it than ice does. Otherwise that water would freeze and it would already be ice.
    The suggestion that the heat radiated by open water wouldn’t exist if the ice insulated that water, should be clarified to take this into account. Do you satisfactorily account for open water during Arctic night? If so, could you explain it?

  50. This is from Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper, so you know it’s true:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3341039.ece

    The trap was sprung in February 2006. The White House ordered that Dr Jim Hansen was to be denied the oxygen of publicity forthwith. He was to be banned from appearing in newspapers and on TV and radio. He was effectively to disappear.

    It was the kind of treatment that might be reserved for terrorists, criminals or, in a totalitarian regime, for political dissidents.

    “All I had done was to give a talk to the American Geophysical Union, setting out how 2005 had been the warmest year on record,” recalled Hansen, in a visit to London last week. “But someone at Nasa got a call right from the top, from the White House. They were very annoyed.”

    It was not quite all he had done. Hansen had also e-mailed a transcript of the talk to a raft of reporters before he spoke. “I did make sure it hit the headlines,” he recalls modestly. In his talk he declared that humanity, especially Americans and Europeans, were burning fossil fuels so fast that they risked transforming Earth into “a different planet”.

    Government scientists were not supposed to say things like that. Shortly afterwards the head of Nasa’s public affairs office, one of George Bush’s political appointees, banned Hansen from speaking to the media.

    “Then they also forced us to remove all our data about the latest temperature rises from the website,” says Hansen. “I realised they really were going to stop me communicating.”

    It looked like a classic case of a naive scientist being ruthlessly crushed by a government machine.

    In reality, however, it was Hansen who laid the trap – and the Bush administration that got caught. A few more calls to the media and soon the story of the lone scientist gagged by the mighty Bush administration hit the front pages all over the world, carrying Hansen’s warning about climate change with it once again.

  51. The AVI files linked from Youtube show a somewhat different (softened) view of things at the pole though. The .PNG file attached http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/deetest/deetmp.81.png or http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=05&fd=24&fy=1980&sm=05&sd=24&sy=2010 show a fairly good comparative image of 1980 vs 2010. But the youtube video shows a more softened detail when compared to this file from the same site http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/CT/animate.arctic.color.0.html I like the clarity of data presented here better ( from http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/ )

  52. Anu

    In private industry, an employee discussing company business with the press without authorization would be fired immediately. In the military they would be court martialed.

    Organisations require some discipline to be functional. If everyone in government was setting up press conferences to discuss their pet theories and their plans to save the planet, it would collapse.

  53. RGates saith: “Now some people might be confused about what a “death” spiral is, and specifcally what it might look like as sea ice declines. It means it doesn’t go straight down, but has a few down years, and then a few up years…sort of 2 steps forward and then 1 step back, then 3 steps foward, and 2 steps back, then 1 step foward and 2 steps back…pretty simple.”

    Nope. You keep saying that, but it’s false:

    http://www.doubletongued.org/index.php/dictionary/graveyard_spiral/

    graveyard spiral: n. originally, an inescapable winding descent of an airplane that leads to a crash; (hence), the rapid decline or devaluation of something, such as a career, a company, etc. Subjects: English, Aviation, Slang
    Editorial Note: Synonyms are dead man’s spiral and the far more common death spiral.

    Nothing at all there about going up-and-down.

  54. Mike says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    “The open water loses heat to the atmosphere (because it is not insulated by ice) meaning that declining ice cover is probably a negative feedback, not a positive one.”

    The heat would not have been in the water to radiate out if the ice had been there. The amount of energy radiating out of the dark ocean is less than the amount that would be reflected and radiated back by the white ice. Are you even trying to make sense?

    Kind of reverse logic: “The heat would not have been in the water to radiate out if the ice had been there.” Ice does not cause cold, it is caused by cold.

    Ice over water insulates and keeps water warm. It’s one of the many wonderful features of water that makes life itself possible on this planet. Lose that cover, and it gets colder. The water in the Arctic ocean is constantly on the move, and warmer water will constantly be replacing the cooler water, for no other reason than simple convection, but probably more so because of constant currents.

    So the theory is sound. Can you give us data on the amount of heat radiated by the uncovered Arctic ocean vs that reflected by the ice cover, perhaps?

  55. R. Gates says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    But furthermore, in looking at this trend chart:

    I don’t see how someone, even the most elementary chart reader, could not easily see what the longer term trend has been in the sea ice since long before 1990, even going back to the 1960′s— it’s been down, slowly, but perceptively spiraling down.

    You seem like someone who has invested more than a little time in trying to understand what’s going on in the Arctic, so perhaps you can help me with something I’ve never been able to locate a cogent answer for on my own. What exactly is the source of all that wonderfully precise data for the Arctic sea ice from 1900 to 1979?

  56. The ice was so thick in 1959 that a submarine surfaced at the north pole in December.

  57. R. Gates — Concentration is not extent. You and Steve are talking about different things.

    I’ll be very, very interested to see how this year comes out, because I’ve got my own theories and this looks like the year to prove or disprove them re the importance of the central core’s concentration to eventual minimum extent.

    The thing about extent is, there are large swaths of the spring max extent that are absolutely meaningless to eventual fall minimum extent. They melted thirty years ago, they melted 10 years ago, they’ll melt this year, they’ll melt 10 years from now. In judging minimum extent all that matters is those areas that one might reasonably expect have a chance to survive the minimum extent.

  58. Dan Hawkins says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:49 pm
    Charles and Smokey,

    Thank you, gentlemen, for trying to keep us literate. IT’S a shame when a sentient being can’t handle ITS own language. The human race little realizes that IT’S likely to be ITS downfall one of these days. The tipping point draw’s nigh.

    Dan, I was so filled with hope when I read the opening of your posting. Then…..along came “draw’s”. Please, just as “it’s” always means only “it is”, the third person singular of a verb is NEVER formed with an apostrophe. It takes me back to my days in Australia, where nearly every sign in a window seemed to form the plural with an apostrophe.

    IanM

  59. Donald (S.Australia) says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Perhaps Hansen is standing at the window of his Manhattan office pronouncing with all the understated solemnity of a self-important prophet that the perimeter road alongside the Hudson is to be submerged by the rising sea. Oh, that was thirty years ago? And that little tipping point was due some 10 years ago. Not a millimeter of difference. Another of Hansen’s wonderful, wonderful predictions. I predict…. he will be sharing a cell with Al.

    The funny thing about this particular debacle is that the West Side Highway was supposed to end up submerged beneath the Hudson at that time anyway. However, it had nothing to do with sea level rise.

    “Westway was the name of a proposed project to put New York City’s West Side Highway underground, first planned in 1972 and officially canceled in 1985. It would have involved extensive landfill in the Hudson River off Manhattan to accommodate a highway and real estate development.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westway_%28New_York%29

    If the project had been carried out, Hansen’s prediction would have been correct, but for an entirely different reason.

  60. @Dan Hawkins who wrote: “The tipping point draw’s nigh.”

    Is that misspelling supposed to be sarcasm about ITS vs IT’S?

  61. R Gates:
    I would be real careful about how much you read into the “trend” charts. When I looked at those dates, my first question was, “where did that data come from before satellites” and the answer is “extrapolation in space and time from land observations”. This is what the source at Illinois says:

    These data are a compilation of data from many sources integrated into a single gridded product by John Walsh and Bill Chapman, University of Illinois. The sources of data for each grid cell have changed over the years from infrequent land/sea observations, to observationally derived charts, to satellite data for the most recent decades. Temporal and spatial gaps within observed data are filled with a climatology or other statistically derived data.

    Please note that large portions of the pre-1953, and almost all of the pre-1900 data is either climatology or interpolated data and the user is cautioned to use this data with care (see “Expert user guidance”, below).

    I think you are pretty much left with post-1979 trends. Good luck with that. I don’t think you can derive any meaningful trend at all from a time period of that length.

  62. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 8:10 pm
    Anu

    In private industry, an employee discussing company business with the press without authorization would be fired immediately. In the military they would be court martialed.

    Organisations require some discipline to be functional. If everyone in government was setting up press conferences to discuss their pet theories and their plans to save the planet, it would collapse.

    Yes, that’s what the Bush Administration tried to argue.
    They eventually fired the young political operative – turns out he had lied about his college degree before he joined the Bush campaign (the loyal work for which he became a political appointee). Close, but didn’t actually graduate – like Cheney at Yale.

    Science is not the same as Business or Military – it it were, you couldn’t demand to see their data and get to make graphs and videos like you do.

  63. OT: Anthony, we need a thread on the absurd reporting that the MSN is doing on the oil spill versus where the real information can be found. CNN is a running, drooling mess of misinformation. Tonight’s guffaw was Bill Nye, “the science guy,” trying to explain the technology behind a “top kill.” All he proved was that he is not an engineer and had not even done a good Google search on the subject. For example, he insisted it would take “400 tons of pressure” to counter that of the escaping oil. Come to think of it, not even a good scientist would make that statement.

    My Google search turned up http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6505

  64. Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm
    Dr. Hansen is famous for his tipping point nonsense.

    When it comes to temperatures, for the last 550 million years the Earth’s temperature has varied between 12C and 22C. (Scotese). About 22% of the time during that period temperatures topped-out at 22C; only about 6% of the time they bottomed-out at 12C. The atmosphere contains 750 Gigatons of carbon. If all the 4,000 GT of fossil fuel reserves were burned, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 would increase from 390 ppm to 2,470 ppm. The resulting logarithmic temperature increase would be 1.4C, which would increase the temperature from the present 14.5C to 15.9C. So after burning all our fossil fuels, we would wind up 39% off the bottom of the historic temperature range.

    So much for Dr. Hansen’s tipping points.

    ==============================

    Nothing like the cut and dry analysis from an engineer. I wish climate scientists would take a few lessons from you guys.

    But, if they did that, they would be out of a job…for upsetting the Hansen establishment.

    Excellent post! Have saved for my own reference.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  65. Anu

    Imagine if every NASA scientist called press conferences to announce his/her plans for space travel. It would be unmanageable chaos.

    Ever heard of the Hatch Act?

    May not use their official authority or influence to interfere with an election
    May not engage in political activity while on duty
    May not engage in political activity in any government office

  66. Cryosphere Today shows the present Arctic sea ice anomaly dropping like a stone past one million square kms below the 1979-2010 mean. Fearless prediction – it will continue lower. Will it be the 4th lowest, 3rd lowest, 2nd lowest, lowest by September? Who knows, but arguing that nothing significant is happening in the Arctic is drawing a very long bow indeed.

  67. R. Gates says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm
    “Steve, as you (and most everybody else here on WUWT) well knows, we differ greatly in our perceptions of what the data says and what the condition of the arctic sea ice really is…”

    =====================================

    Yes but the difference is Steve speaks from authority and makes sense. Your “perception” holds very little water or significance, so the above is not a fair comparison.

    Don’t flatter yourself (although I know that is not a safe bet.)

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  68. stevengoddard says: May 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm {…} One of the discoveries that came out of that discussion was that the eye-elevation of the UIUC maps wasn’t what they thought it was, and they apparently corrected it. So post 2008 maps have a different perspective and do not line up exactly at lower latitudes.

    Steven I have posted this before, and it looks to me like the change to a larger earth post 2008 has a smaller arctic overall. This is the 1979 shoreline scaled to the current larger diameter. http://i44.tinypic.com/2vrwuae.jpg
    I suppose a higher altitude could cause this, if the first was too low to see the outermost circumference of the earth. That does not seem to be the case, it looks like the most change is at higher latitudes, least change toward the equator. It doesn’t look like an angular change either.

    There was another change in late 2004, when snow was added to the depiction. This image has the snow from 2008 on the still smaller earth, overlaid with the shoreline from 1980. All of the white shows the decrease in area of the arctic sea and some lower lattitudes. http://i44.tinypic.com/330u63t.jpg
    While I don’t think it is ‘sinister’, it is another peculiarly coincidental event in climate science that the area of shoreline change shows up in the NH anomaly graph as a step function late 2004.

  69. Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm
    Dr. Hansen is famous for his tipping point nonsense.

    When it comes to temperatures, for the last 550 million years the Earth’s temperature has varied between 12C and 22C. (Scotese). About 22% of the time during that period temperatures topped-out at 22C; only about 6% of the time they bottomed-out at 12C. The atmosphere contains 750 Gigatons of carbon. If all the 4,000 GT of fossil fuel reserves were burned, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 would increase from 390 ppm to 2,470 ppm. The resulting logarithmic temperature increase would be 1.4C, which would increase the temperature from the present 14.5C to 15.9C. So after burning all our fossil fuels, we would wind up 39% off the bottom of the historic temperature range.

    So much for Dr. Hansen’s tipping points.
    Are you aware that the Sun has been getting 1% brighter every 100 million years ?
    And that people here argue about how powerful an effect 0.1% fluctuations in TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) caused by sunspots can be…

    As for 2,470 ppm of CO2 – this is compared to the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm, not the current level – the warming in the pipeline from increasing from 280 ppm to 390 ppm is not realized yet (large inertia in planet-scale climate changes). The 280 ppm level lasted many centuries.

    280 –> 2,470 would be a factor of 8.8. More than 3 doublings.
    Each CO2 doubling causes 3 +/- 1.5 °C change in planetary temperature.
    About 9 °C warming. On average. Some regions much higher.

    So much for Charles S. Opalek, PE teacher
    of climatology nonsense.

  70. That is an astute observation about the 2007 ice loss starting when insolation is waning. The reason that melting is out of step with insolation is that Arctic melting is primarily caused by warm water reaching the Arctic Ocean from two sides. On the Atlantic side we have the Gulf stream entering it in a broad front between Iceland and Scandinavia and keeping the Russian Arctic ports ice free. In the west a smaller amount of warm water enters through the Bering Strait. It is usually enough to keep the Chukchi Sea, just north of the strait, ice free. Apparently a pattern of winds in 2007 caused more than the usual amount of warm water to enter the Arctic through the Bering Strait. This created a large ice-free bubble centered on the strait while the Gulf Stream side changed only a little. The Arctic warming itself is over a century old, having started suddenly at the beginning of the twentieth century. It had been preceded by a two thousand year old cooling trend. A sudden warming is impossible for carbon dioxide to cause without a simultaneous increase of its partial pressure in the atmosphere. We know that this did not happen. The only physical process that can start such a warming is rearrangement of the North Atlantic current system at the turn of the twentieth century that directed the Gulf Stream unto its present northerly course. There was a break in warming, with some cooling from the forties to the sixties, but then warming returned and temperatures that had been reached in the thirties were again reached by 2003. The Gulf Stream itself has melted approximately a third of the Arctic ice that would exist in its absence. For more info see “What Warming?” available on Amazon.com.

  71. Steve, here is the May time-series from NSIDC:
    year mo data_type region extent area
    1979 5 Goddard N 14.06 11.04
    1980 5 Goddard N 14.04 10.88
    1981 5 Goddard N 13.90 10.93
    1982 5 Goddard N 14.17 11.10
    1983 5 Goddard N 13.54 10.80
    1984 5 Goddard N 13.68 10.81
    1985 5 Goddard N 14.23 11.19
    1986 5 Goddard N 13.52 10.63
    1987 5 Goddard N 13.81 10.91
    1988 5 Goddard N 13.69 11.35
    1989 5 Goddard N 12.98 11.30
    1990 5 Goddard N 13.30 10.84
    1991 5 Goddard N 13.51 11.44
    1992 5 Goddard N 13.25 11.37
    1993 5 Goddard N 13.54 11.35
    1994 5 Goddard N 13.73 11.60
    1995 5 Goddard N 13.04 10.76
    1996 5 Goddard N 13.06 11.22
    1997 5 Goddard N 13.32 11.17
    1998 5 Goddard N 13.80 11.35
    1999 5 Goddard N 13.86 11.61
    2000 5 Goddard N 13.18 11.18
    2001 5 Goddard N 13.72 11.32
    2002 5 Goddard N 13.12 11.11
    2003 5 Goddard N 13.00 10.82
    2004 5 Goddard N 12.58 10.86
    2005 5 Goddard N 12.99 10.83
    2006 5 Goddard N 12.62 10.39
    2007 5 Goddard N 12.89 10.71
    2008 5 PRELIM N 13.16 10.83
    2009 5 NRTSI-G N 13.39 11.08

    As you can clearly see, 1990 is not the record low in sea ice extent or sea ice area. Given that the ice extent today is at the same level as in 2006, it would seem your conclusion that 2010 has substantially more ice than in 1990 is incorrect.

    Also, I believe R. Gates linked to a ppt the other day that discussed non-linearity of the Arctic sea ice cover. In that ppt I saw a figure that showed cummulative anomalies in absorbed shortwave energy, the amounts of which show positive anomalies in recent years in total absorbed solar energy on the order of 150 MJ m-2 that would be equivalent to melting 49 cm of ice given an ice density of 917 kg m-3 and a latent heat of fusion of 334000 J kg-1. Thus, there is a positive ice albedo feedback happening. Don Perovich has written many papers recently about this, and even discussed how much energy was absorbed during the 2007 melt season and how much this contributed to bottom melting, which was quite extreme that year as evidenced in the buoy data. I believe the ppt also showed some data/figures from Perovich. The absorbed solar energy is cummulative over the entire summer melt season, just because the minimum happens in September does not mean that earlier melt onset, more advanced summer melt do not have an impact on the energy balance of the ice.

    Thus, I do not understand how you reach conclusions such as 2010 has more ice than 1990, and that the ice-albedo feedback affect doesn’t matter.

  72. Tommy says:
    May 25, 2010 at 7:02 pm
    Notice the satellite is closer to the Earth in today’s image than it was 20 years ago. (Either that, or the Earth is suffering from CAGE: catastrophic anthropomorphic global enlarging).

    No, it’s just cropped different. Notice how the horizon is the same.

  73. Speaking of tipping points,
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
    2010 just dropped below the 2004 curve.
    The latest value : 11,331,563 km2 (May 25, 2010)
    May 25, 2004: 11,375,000 km2
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv

    In a few days, it will probably drop below 2006, thus entering “lowest extent in recorded data for this date” territory.

    See, some people thought nothing interesting would happen in the Arctic till June or July.

  74. Arno Arrak says:
    May 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Arno, can you point to a paper or figure that shows that 2007 showed more influx of warm water from the Pacific side? My understanding from papers I read was that the warm waters in the Chukchi that year were not a result of the inflow of warm water through Bering Strait, but rather the retreat of the sea ice combined with unusually clear skies allowed the ocean to absorb more of the sun’s energy, warming the SSTs.

    Also, observations show very little mixing of the warm water entering through Fram Strait and the surface. This is because of the very stable mixed layer. Thus, this does not appear to be a factor of sea ice retreat in that region.

  75. jeff brown,

    As George Orwell noted, clear writing = clear thinking. Therefore:

    cummulative = cumulative

    “…ice-albedo feedback affect…” = “…ice-albedo feedback effect…”

    Carry on.

  76. Charles Wilson says:
    May 25, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    … close to the edge. … Tipping, or Not ? … DO the Math. … “our ” Present El Nino is a 1.8. … El Nino (peak) in 2007: melted 4000 km3 more than in 2006, … Satellites, Ships, Planes ALL saw the Ice thinning. NO ONE saw it thicken in 2007.

    Loss: by year: 2007 Loss x 2010 El Nino/2007 El Nino
    Loss by km3: 4000 km3 x 1.8/1.1 = 6545 km3 loss
    From 5800 (Piomas) or 6000 km3 (Seasat)
    = a Negative Number.
    = Death, for 99% of Americans, as the currents stop.
    – OK, I only give it 25% … Because it may be going straight for it now but … it is the Weather. Will Katla Blow ? Did Cosmic Ray spikes increase Clouds ? (December was WICKED)

    Again, the currents may change but are they changing FROM a pattern ENOUGH like 11,000 years ago to get the same result = 300 mph winds ?
    ….

    Remember, even 1/4 the energy of 300 mph = “only” 150 mph sustained for 2 months = likely 225 mph gust = no Buildings survive outside the Tropics save the Pyramids.

    No civilization, no food, no Rescue, no Hope. It’ll take 30 years for the Trees to grow back so we can build huts.

    And to stop this costs 6 cents per American !

    Why are we playing this Right Wing vs. Left when the NUMBERS say … what they say (above) ? The President must DO something and WE are the people who have to tell him THIS IS A RISK.

    6 Billion Dead times 25% = 1.5 Billion AVERAGE dead.

    Cannot you admit that there is a POSSIBILITY that this Extra-strong El Nino happenning EXACTLY at the Low-Ice point of the 60-year cycle
    COULD be a COLLOSSAL Killer ?

    I cannot even get ESA to use the advertised “flash” result feature of Cryosat 2, to verify thickness. 75% of the time, we live, so they figure: we deserve Scientific Priority of Publishing — so they are keeping all results SECRET until next September … that is: 2011 !

    Great stuff! I’m still wiping my eyes and trying to get some breath back. Ever considered standup?

  77. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm :

    Fascinating photo at

    However, the image is relevant to light in the visible spectrum. The real question applies to the infrared spectrum. This seems partially addressed by other comments relating to LW radiation. Even so, at the risk of being pedantic, I think this bears qualifying – does water have a much higher albedo when incident heat radiation strikes at an acute angle? If so, how does this affect the modelling (yes, I know no one here likes models but every scientific hypothesis must involve some form of model)?

  78. By the way, regarding tipping points, I am wondering if this will be a summer that will see valley snow every month till snow season starts again. It happens rarely but it has happened. We have had snow fall to the valley floor somewhere in the county every month since spring officially started. I have seen it snow on July 4th. So we shall see.

  79. The absorbed solar energy is cummulative over the entire summer melt season,

    That cannot be right. Energy doesn’t accumulate over time if there is a temperature differential in operation.

    Take two glasses of water. Allow one to be put in the microwave for a minute and then left on the bench for an hour, and the other to be left on the bench then put in the microwave at the end.

    They will not have the same heat at the end, despite having similar energy histories.

  80. Charles

    “It’s” is short for “it is”, and nothing else.

    Wrong grammar boy!

    “It’s” is also short for “it has”, as in “It’s become tiresome listening to all these pedants railing about the word it’s.”

    REPLY: It’s the pirates of pendants, aarrhhh! -A

  81. How come that “effects of greenhouse warming” were not able to beat historical temperature records in Arctic so far?

    Not speaking about the starting decline. Hide the decline! HIDE THE DECLINE!

  82. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Chris1958

    The sun doesn’t produce much infrared.

    I am sorry?

    It looks to be about half of sunlight in energy.

    quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared
    Bright sunlight provides an irradiance of just over 1 kilowatt per square meter at sea level. Of this energy, 527 watts is infrared radiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultraviolet radiation

    there is a reference for this quote.

  83. Anu says:
    May 25, 2010 at 9:25 pm
    Speaking of tipping points,
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
    2010 just dropped below the 2004 curve.
    The latest value : 11,331,563 km2 (May 25, 2010)
    May 25, 2004: 11,375,000 km2
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv

    In a few days, it will probably drop below 2006, thus entering “lowest extent in recorded data for this date” territory.

    See, some people thought nothing interesting would happen in the Arctic till June or July.

    From IJIS graph page

    [Updated on May 18, 2010] Previous version of data processing had made an erroneous blip of sea ice extent on June 1st and October 15th which was seen in the graph of sea ice extent as a small peak on these dates. We improved the processing to make the graph much smoother. The apparent blip had arisen due to a switching of some parameters in the processing on both dates. The parameter switching is needed because the surface of the Arctic sea-ice becomes wet in summer due to the melting of ice which changes satellite-observed signatures of sea-ice drastically. By this improvement most of the sea ice extent values are not affected at all except for the period of May 20-June 11 and October 8-26 of each year.
     
    In principle, SIC data could have errors of 10% at most, particularly for the area of thin sea ice seen around the edge of sea-ice cover and melted sea ice seen in summer. Also, SIC along coastal lines could also have errors due to sub-pixel contamination of land cover in an instantaneous field of view of AMSR-E data.
     

  84. I also am of the opinion that the amount of ice is less at this date than in 1990 simply due to the graphs at cryosphere, as pointed out before show it is

    I’d take the graphs over eyeballing a map anyday. Steve hasn’t commented on this discrepency yet, so it would be good to hear his thoughts.

    Andy

  85. anna v

    I should have been more specific. The sun doesn’t produce much infrared at wavelengths which are absorbed by CO2. I assumed that was his point.

  86. Steve,

    Very interesting post. You wrote:

    “The open water loses heat to the atmosphere (because it is not insulated by ice) meaning that declining ice cover is probably a negative feedback, not a positive one…”

    Do you have any hard data to support this statement, other than the guess that it’s “probably a negative feedback” ???

  87. Chris1958 says:
    May 25, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    However, the image is relevant to light in the visible spectrum. The real question applies to the infrared spectrum. This seems partially addressed by other comments relating to LW radiation. Even so, at the risk of being pedantic, I think this bears qualifying – does water have a much higher albedo when incident heat radiation strikes at an acute angle? If so, how does this affect the modelling (yes, I know no one here likes models but every scientific hypothesis must involve some form of model)?

    We do know that infrared is absorbed in the first microns or millimeters of water, in contrast to visible, but obviously not all of it, since here are some lovely pictures taken by infrared.
    http://www.photos-of-the-year.com/articles/digital-infrared-image/

    I think one would have to sit down and calculate how much of the infrared is reflected and how much absorbed.

  88. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm:

    ‘The sun doesn’t produce much infrared.’

    I note anna v’s comments. But you actually haven’t answered my question, which relates to absorbtion of energy via the infra-red spectrum. Moreover, to what extent is energy from the non-infra red spectrum retained in the form of thermal energy when sunlight strikes water at an angle?

    BTW, in response to a few ad hominem comments posted in response to my comments on Lord Monckton, I’m actually strongly sceptical of CAGW. However, I sometimes wish more of the responses here focused on the science.

  89. RE: Mike: (May 25, 2010 at 4:44 pm) “The heat would not have been in the water to radiate out if the ice had been there. The amount of energy radiating out of the dark ocean is less than the amount that would be reflected and radiated back by the white ice. Are you even trying to make sense?”

    I think this statement applies only if the ocean were frozen solid all the way to the bottom at zero degrees K. Otherwise there *is* heat in the water. Reflected energy does not qualify as heat loss, it is only heat rejection, and also, this does not apply after sunset when most freezing occurs. I suspect that the primary protection that the ice provides is the reduction of conducted heat loss to subzero arctic winds during the winter. That is why the Eskimos build igloos.

  90. Looks like one heck of a trend to me.

    … yessiree bob it sure does

    … so when do we tip over again ?

  91. Can we try and keep some perspective on sea ice, always difficult to do of course at this time of year?

    Arctic sea ice melts. It melts with surprising regularity to levels we now consider ‘abnormal’.

    It melted abnormally in the period 1915 to 1940
    It melted abnormally in the period 1820 to 1860 (see my article here)

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/

    It melted abnormally in the period 1700-1740
    It melted abnormally in the 1400’s.
    It melted extremely abnormally around 1000 AD (the Vikings) and 1000 years before that (The Ipiatuk).

    Melting ‘abnormally’ is what the arctic does. Our satellite records in 1979 caught it at a historically high point and it would be expected melt back from those levels.

    We must invite James Hansen (and others) to look at a much broader historic perspective in order to put the modern age into its proper context.

    Tonyb

  92. Anna v,

    “Bright sunlight provides an irradiance of just over 1 kilowatt per square meter at sea level. Of this energy, 527 watts is infrared radiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultraviolet radiation.”

    I previously wondered how come sunlight felt warm if it had little IR. Now you’ve answered that – thanks.

    I have another question though Anna. Can you explain why it is that IR feels warm on your skin but radiation in the visible spectrum only would not feel warm? What is it about IR that it can do this but visible can’t?

  93. R .Gates,

    “Now some people might be confused about what a “death” spiral is, and specifcally what it might look like as sea ice declines. It means it doesn’t go straight down, but has a few down years, and then a few up years.”

    I see now. So whereas a trend would go straight down, a death spiral goes up and down.

  94. New idea for a Climate-related game show (I’m sure Fox will pick it up), called “The Biggest Liar” (or Outlier…). Goal being, whichever Climate Scientist can convince people they’re serious about the hugest AGW related impending catastrophe wins.

    I dunno if Pachuri or Hansen is a better horse to bet on.

  95. Gates

    You have a peculiar description for a spiral. I’d call it variation myself with an inconsistently measured negative trend w.r.t ice increase over a short period of recent time. A spiral goes in one direction. You know, like a helter-skelter. You really do have a peculiar view of the world.

  96. Anu,

    Are you aware that the temperature increase associated with an increase in CO2 concentration is logarithmic? This means that the greater the increase in CO2, the less temperature rises, until adding more CO2 will not make any difference as the entire heat absorption frequency available is saturated.

    Increasing CO2 by a factor of 3 will NOT create 3 x 3 (+/-1.5) Celsius degrees of warming.

    Doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels should produce 2 Celsius degrees of warming. A further doubling would produce a further 1 Celsius degree of warming, and a further doubling would produce a further 0.5 Celsius degree of warming.

    The near doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels has resulted in approximately 0.7 degrees in reality, so there are some negative feedbacks mitigating the warming. (and that is accepting the official temperature record, which is now open to serious doubt due to the methodology involved in constructing [manipulating] the official record through removing temperature stations in colder locations and extrapolating and homogenising data from warmer stations subject to UHI effect).

  97. RE: stevengoddard: (May 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm) “The sun doesn’t produce much infrared.”

    [Speculation] It occurs to me that this may be the reason for what I have elsewhere called ‘The Tropopause Ice-locker Effect, ‘ as the temperatures there are much colder than the -18 degree or so surface temperature one might expect from a black-body in thermal equilibrium with incoming solar radiation. The tropopause, I believe, is at the top of the column of IR fog created by the Earth’s ‘greenhouse’ [or ‘earthshine resonant’] gases. I believe it represents the radiator coils of the Earth’s natural refrigeration system.

    I now suspect that the low temperatures at the tropopause may be due to the low equilibrium temperatures established by the minimal fraction of solar radiation that is actually in the absorption-emission bands of the cocktail of greenhouse gases at this level. This equilibrium temperature would set the upper limit for average non-convecting surface temperatures as a function of the effective adiabatic lapse rate at the point of incipient, full-column convection. Of course, incoming short-wave solar radiation would drive surface temperatures to this limit.

  98. REPLY: It’s the pirates of pendants, aarrhhh! -A

    Not wishing to be ‘pendantic’, but did you mean ‘pirates of pedants’?!

  99. Spector’s right – liquid water contains latent heat which is yielded up on freezing – just as water vapour yields thermal energy upon condensation – which is why warmer temperatures often precede rainfall or snowfall.

    So Steve does make sense :-). However, it does also mean that an area of water comprising so-called poor quality ice contains more energy than a similar area comprising good quality ice even at the same ambient temperature. Hence, arguments about the extent of ice coverage and the quality of ice are relevant. At the same time, we need to remember that any recovery of ice coverage would have to be preceded by initially poor quality ice while the Arctic waters yield latent heat stored up during the 2007 melt (a process which must take time). Consequently, the obsession of some of the CAGW and sceptical camps with current ice coverage is utterly premature.

  100. Vincent says:
    May 26, 2010 at 1:08 am


    I have another question though Anna. Can you explain why it is that IR feels warm on your skin but radiation in the visible spectrum only would not feel warm? What is it about IR that it can do this but visible can’t?

    This needs a biologist to answer. I’d rather not handwave.

  101. tonyb says:
    May 26, 2010 at 12:23 am

    So, what is going on here seems contrary to current conventional wisdom:
    Periods of high GCR’s (? ACR’s) /low AP index & low solar wind coincide with increased melting in the Arctic.
    Current conventional wisdom being ‘what else can it be’ CAGW.
    The ballast of the Arctic is seen in the Antarctic.

  102. Pamela Gray says:
    May 25, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    While sitting out the entire month of May awash in storm after storm for N. Calif., I am reminded of the Alaskan Summer which comes every 10 years or so. 1976 or 1977 was one of those years.
    Nice. The Arctic gets a rare summer, we get an extended winter, and the Alarmists go on a binge bummer.
    To hell with the Arctic Ice I say: I want my garden to grow and the crops to make it in the Pacific Northwest.

  103. willnitschke

    The linked NASA article explains that more radiation is lost from the Arctic than is received. If the region was perpetually covered with ice and snow (good insulators) that would be impossible. If the region was completely ice free in October, there would be a lot more radiative heat loss. The ice “traps” heat in the ocean, similar to how CO2 “traps” heat in the atmosphere.

  104. Mike says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    “The open water loses heat to the atmosphere (because it is not insulated by ice) meaning that declining ice cover is probably a negative feedback, not a positive one.”

    The heat would not have been in the water to radiate out if the ice had been there. The amount of energy radiating out of the dark ocean is less than the amount that would be reflected and radiated back by the white ice. Are you even trying to make sense?
    _________________________________________________________________________
    “energy radiating out of the dark ocean is less than the amount that would be reflected and radiated back by the white ice….” is covered in the article.

    FRESH SNOW not ice has the high albedo. The difference between fresh snow and ice, is as great as the difference between ice and water.
    Also the albedo for water changes. “….Although the reflectivity of water is very low at low and medium angles of incident light, it increases tremendously at high angles of incident light such as occur on the illuminated side of the Earth near the terminator (early morning, late afternoon and near the poles). However, as mentioned above, waviness causes an appreciable reduction. Since the light specularly reflected from water does not usually reach the viewer, water is usually considered to have a very low albedo in spite of its high reflectivity at high angles of incident light.

    Note that white caps on waves look white (and have high albedo) because the water is foamed up….” http://www.answers.com/topic/albedo#Water

    Your statement would make more sense if you were talking about fresh snow vs still water at the equator The difference is a heck of a lot less when talking of ice and ocean at the north pole. Again notice the statement “….water is usually considered to have a very low albedo in spite of its high reflectivity at high angles of incident light. At the pole you are talking abouthigh angles of incident light. since the sun is close to the horizon most of the time.

  105. Gentlemen,
    What has not been factored in is that the salinity of the oceans have unstablised from being pretty constant around the planet before 1970.

  106. ” Charles Wilson says:
    […]
    …. Remember, even 1/4 the energy of 300 mph = “only” 150 mph sustained for 2 months = likely 225 mph gust = no Buildings survive outside the Tropics save the Pyramids.”

    There are people who build their houses from concrete, you know.

    But that was a great diatribe, especially the “costs only 6 cent per American”, great stuff! I’m european so i have a little bit of experience with the costs. At the moment i would probably say “costs only 6, maybe 10 eurocent per kWh, fuel tax rises not included and future prize hikes not included” so i found it refreshingly funny.

  107. I am some what non-plussed by all the concern about sea ice in the northern climes.
    The Vikings enjoyed the fishing and hunting, and, a sun tan,around the North Pole area, in the not to distant past. Catastrophic worlds end did not occur then, fact is, the world blossomed. Cyclic patterns determine sea ice and the very long term sine waves of this pattern, are not on the satellite data, the only real detective science, that is slowly emerging from behind the clamour of alarmist rhetoric, shows the true past histories of our planet. Alas 2c warming would be the greatest boon our planet could receive. Recent science in many fields would suggest this is but a wish and we are overdue for the worst possible thing that could happen. Global cooling.

  108. Vincent says:
    May 26, 2010 at 1:08 am

    I have another question though Anna. Can you explain why it is that IR feels warm on your skin but radiation in the visible spectrum only would not feel warm? What is it about IR that it can do this but visible can’t?

    Very simple. Our skins contains nerve cells specifically sensitive to pain and temperature (which is why chilli tastes hot – it stimulates pain sensitve nerve endings in ourt tongue and palate). Other nerve endings are sensitive to light (eg, the rod and cone cells in our retina) or to light touch and pressure. However, we have no sensory nerve fibres responsive to Ultra Viloet radiation, x-rays, and other forms of very short wave lenght electromagnetic radiation (but we suffers its effects when for example UV burns our skin or radiation damages cellular DNA).

    BTW, thanks for the response to the question, Steve :-)

  109. Smokey, if two typo’s is all you found to critique in my post, that’s a very good thing indeed. It was late at night afterall.

    And whoever said that absorbed solar is not cummulative over the summer, perhaps you don’t understand what I meant by that and what the figure in the ppt shows. The figure focused on the months of May-August. Solar radiation is absorbed at the surface during all those months as the surface albedo decreases: cummulative simply refers to the total absorbed during that time-period (i.e. sum of May + June + July + August multiplied by the number of seconds during that time-period to get the units discussed). If you go to NSIDC’s web site, you can see images of sea ice concentration trends. Negative trends in sea ice concentration during summer imply a corresponding decrease in albedo. This together with incoming solar energy (which you can get from CERES data or from radiative transfer modeling) will give you the total absorbed energy. It does not appear to be as trivial as some on here would have you believe.

  110. So, it appears R. Gates has no understanding of ice concentration. With all the posts he has made on the various sea ice topics I find that extremely telling. In fact, it also appears all the AGW faithful have little to no understanding of historic sea ice fluctuations. Once more … very telling.

  111. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm
    R Gates,

    It is extremely clear from the maps that sea ice concentration is greater now than it was 20 years ago.

    _______________

    And I would say that it is extremely UNCLEAR that anything of the sort is the case. Looking at the data as displayed on this chart:

    All one has to do is zoom into 1990, and look at it close, and you’ll see that the sea ice extent never even came close to a negative anomaly of 1,000,000 sq. miles, yet we are over that here in May of 2010. So, again, in your orginal post, you said:

    “Sea ice concentration is considerably higher now than it was on this date 20 years ago.”

    So I must completely disagree with your assessment and I’m not sure what data you’re using. If you want to post an actually data set for sea ice in May 1990, I’d be glad to compare it to 2010’s actual data. Perhaps different data sets we’re looking at?

  112. stevengoddard says: May 25, 2010 at 9:48 pm
    Tommy is correct. They changed the eye altitude from 5971 miles to 5941 miles.

    Steven, this is physically impossible. As one approaches an object from a distance, it gets larger, not smaller. Please explain how the Arctic area shrinks from a closer observation point.
    Here is a scale drawing of the earth and the two points of observation. The satellite is obviously too close to capture the full diameter of the earth, so it is within the area where the relative size of the features can vary in area wrt the diameter of the earth, but not in the way you describe.

  113. Gail Combs says:
    May 26, 2010 at 4:33 am

    “At the pole you are talking abouthigh angles of incident light. since the sun is close to the horizon most of the time.”

    ____________

    This might be true if the open ocean in the arctic was completely flat and horizontal and smooth like but the open ocean at the poles also has waves, and the incident light that falls on the sides of the waves actually strikes it much more directly than some realize. This is the same reason that solar panels are raised up off the level ground so that the sun might stike them more directly. Think of the sides of the waves in the open arctic waters as being like the inclined solar panels…they absorb a lot more radiation than you’d think, even with the sun lower on the horizon.

  114. Smokey says:
    May 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    “…..And it’s interesting that Obama seems to be in fact muzzling Hansen, because we don’t hear a peep out of him now about death trains, prosecuting CEO’s, etc.”
    _____________________________________________________________________________
    Or perhaps Hansen has the good sense to see what is happening to Jones and Mann (criminal investigations) and decide the better part of valor was to keep his mouth shut……NAAHHhhh I don’t think he has the common sense to make that type of decision. I think you are correct, the Spinmeisters
    , have decided to muzzle him so the administration doesn’t look like it is promoting an obvious fraud.

    Note: David Hawkins is Director of the Climate Center of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Stan Greenberg is Strategic Consultant to the Climate Center of the Natural Resources Defense Council on its multi-year campaign on global warming. Greenberg is a very talented Spinmeister and advisor to Obama, Tony Blair, and Gordon brown among others.

    It is worse than we thought they have been hiring campaign directors to manipulate our minds!

  115. Ken Hall says:
    May 26, 2010 at 1:21 am
    Anu,

    Are you aware that the temperature increase associated with an increase in CO2 concentration is logarithmic? This means that the greater the increase in CO2, the less temperature rises, until adding more CO2 will not make any difference as the entire heat absorption frequency available is saturated.
    Yes, the temperature increase is logarithmic.
    2^1 = 2
    2^2 = 4
    2^3 = 8
    2^4 = 16
    logarithm – the exponent required to produce a given number
    So, the temperature increase goes as 1, 2, 3 and 4 as the CO2 amount goes up by a factor of 2, 4, 8 and 16.
    The equilibrium temperature increase from a sustained doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere is proportional to the exponent of the increase, not the increase itself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_sensitivity
    equilibrium climate sensitivity refers to the equilibrium change in global mean near-surface air temperature that would result from a sustained doubling of the atmospheric (equivalent) CO2 concentration (ΔTx2). This value is estimated, by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) as likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values. This is a slight change from the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR), which said it was “likely to be in the range of 1.5 to 4.5°C”. More recent work continues to support a best-guess value around 3 °C.

    Increasing CO2 by a factor of 3 will NOT create 3 x 3 (+/-1.5) Celsius degrees of warming.
    True, but the example was:
    280 –> 2,470 would be a factor of 8.8. More than 3 doublings.
    Each CO2 doubling causes 3 +/- 1.5 °C change in planetary temperature.

    This was not a “factor of 3”, it was a factor of 8.8. More than 3 doublings.

    Doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels should produce 2 Celsius degrees of warming.
    Well, the best-guess value is 3 degrees of warming, but 2 is within the error bars, so OK.

    A further doubling would produce a further 1 Celsius degree of warming, and a further doubling would produce a further 0.5 Celsius degree of warming.
    No, each further doubling would produce another 3 °C of warming. That’s pretty much the definition of climate sensitivity. You’re thinking of “a further 280 ppm” would produce less warming, and another 280 ppm would produce even less additional warming, etc.

    The near doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels
    280 –> 390 is a 39.3% increase, not a “near doubling”

    has resulted in approximately 0.7 degrees in reality, so there are some negative feedbacks mitigating the warming.
    The Industrial Revolution started about 1780, say. The temperature records are a bit spotty back in 1850 to 1880.
    I’d say about 0.9 °C so far, with 39.3% CO2 increase.

    And climate sensitivity is not instantaneous – it takes awhile for all the effects of the new forcings to show up in the “global mean near-surface air temperature” (that’s the ‘equilibrium’ part).

    (and that is accepting the official temperature record, which is now open to serious doubt due to the methodology involved in constructing [manipulating] the official record through removing temperature stations in colder locations and extrapolating and homogenising data from warmer stations subject to UHI effect).
    There are only a few organizations that bothered to try to figure out the planetary temperature back to 1850 or 1880. If someone else does it “better”, I’ll certainly take a look. Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) redid all the satellite data processing that Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) had done for decades, and did it better, correcting some crucial errors. I’m all for progress.

  116. R. Gates says: May 26, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Gail Combs says:
    May 26, 2010 at 4:33 am
    “At the pole you are talking abouthigh angles of incident light. since the sun is close to the horizon most of the time.”

    ____________

    This might be true if the open ocean in the arctic was completely flat and horizontal and smooth like but the open ocean at the poles also has waves, and the incident light that falls on the sides of the waves actually strikes it much more directly than some realize.

    Think for a moment, R. If what you describe is happening, then a fairly equal amount of water on the other side of the wave trough receives zero sun, plus even more water is in the shadow of the far wall of the trough, so it averages out to a even less insolation than a smooth surface.

  117. Steve Keohane, you beat me to it. I was absolutely in fits of laughter when I read R. Gates’ wave explanation. It once again demostrates that a person who believes something so strongly does not think clearly. I’ve seen that over and over again here with other AGW believers as well.

    For example, the enire question of climate sensitivity has been discussed here often and yet anu once again posts the IPCC warming numbers as if they were accepted fact. Three doublings of CO2 would only increase temps abut 3C. Anything higher is pure speculation. Not only that but I believe the 2400+ ppm number is wrong as well. Doesn’t that assumes an instantaneous burning of all fossil fuels? I think 1200 ppm is more likely to be the max and limits the warming to 2C.

  118. Anu,

    “No, each further doubling would produce another 3 °C of warming. That’s pretty much the definition of climate sensitivity.”

    To argue what the future climate will be as the result of modelled outputs of a poorly understood non linear system is not even funny. It’s just dumb.

  119. pat says:
    May 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    O/T but wondering if these figures are accurate:

    24 May: Politico: EPA can’t regulate climate change
    by SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-Wyo.), member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
    Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, for example, would require all stationary sources that emit more than 250 tons of carbon dioxide — a threshold that catches even small emitters — to apply for “prevention of significant deterioration” permits for new construction or modifications. The typical PSD permit costs an applicant approximately $125,000, according to the EPA’s own estimate, and takes roughly 866 hours to obtain. If America’s small businesses are forced to operate under these sorts of conditions, it will crush them.
    By June 7, the Senate has a chance to pass a resolution that would stop the EPA from regulating climate change through the Clean Air Act.
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37660.html
    __________________________________________________________________________
    I wonder what THAT regulation will do to the new house market. As a chemist working in industry for thirty years, I have watched as the “thresholds” for various chemical have been driven lower and lower. The new threshold of 15 ppm of sulfur in diesel that caused the price of diesel to skyrocket in the last few years comes to mind.

    Does anyone remember when the change to unleaded fuel happened and we were told the major jump to a higher price was to offset the cost of new pumps but the price would go back down in a year? (Of course it just kept going up)

    But then again individually owned homes are considered”unsustainable” by the Agenda 21 crowd. The Wildlands Project and UN Convention on Biological Diversity Plan to Restore Biodiversity in the United States MAP shows the ultimate goal of all this Global Warming and Environmental Extremism nonsense. Humans get to live in the green areas, no humans allowed in the red areas except for “green scientists” A bill to make this map law was almost passed here in the USA about ten years ago. Talk about a real close call!

  120. Anu seems to be blaming the rise in CO2 entirely on human activity. But only about 3% comes from human emissions. Generally, CO2 rises in response to rising temperatures; it doesn’t much cause rising temperatures.

    Also, the Wikipedia quote goes from a technical definition of climate sensitivity to a biased [and wrong] conclusion. But Wiki isn’t credible anyway when it comes to climate issues, where Connolley’s propaganda is their game.

    And regarding the question of the temperature record going back a ways, here’s a baker’s dozen of answers from various sources:

    click1
    click2
    click3 [December temperatures]
    click4 [Tisdale]
    click5
    click6
    click7 [Tisdale gif – takes a few seconds to load]
    click8
    click9 [Tisdale]
    click10
    click11
    click12
    click13

  121. tonyb says:
    May 26, 2010 at 12:23 am

    It melted abnormally in the period 1915 to 1940
    It melted abnormally in the period 1820 to 1860 (see my article here)

    It melted abnormally in the period 1700-1740
    It melted abnormally in the 1400′s.
    It melted extremely abnormally around 1000 AD (the Vikings) and 1000 years before that (The Ipiatuk).

    Did it ever disappear entirely in the summer melt during these times ?
    No?
    Then if it does this century, that would be “extremely abnormal”, would you agree ?

    Melting ‘abnormally’ is what the arctic does. Our satellite records in 1979 caught it at a historically high point and it would be expected melt back from those levels.
    The satellite data for the Arctic ice in the early 1970’s shows that it was even “historically higher”, then.

    The Nimbus 5 ESMR data started from 1972.
    Here’s a paper that discusses the Arctic sea ice extent in the 70′s:
    http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/6_1/6.1_barry_et_al.pdf
    See Figure 3 for 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976 summer Arctic sea ice minimums – “about 8 * 10^6 km^2″ for each of these years.
    Compare with:

    I think the “alarmists” should add in those early 1970’s September sea ice extents, it makes the melting trend more impressive.
    Of course, hitting 0 one summer soon will be the most impressive data.

    We must invite James Hansen (and others) to look at a much broader historic perspective in order to put the modern age into its proper context.
    Dr. Hansen models the Earth’s climate. GCM models don’t really care about anecdotal evidence for Arctic ice in the 1400’s, or even 1700-1740.

    Paleoclimatologists are the ones interested in climate centuries and millennia ago. Maybe you should invite Dr. Mann.

  122. Anu says:
    May 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 8:10 pm
    Anu

    In private industry, an employee discussing company business with the press without authorization would be fired immediately. In the military they would be court martialed.

    Organisations require some discipline to be functional. If everyone in government was setting up press conferences to discuss their pet theories and their plans to save the planet, it would collapse.

    Yes, that’s what the Bush Administration tried to argue.
    They eventually fired the young political operative – turns out he had lied about his college degree before he joined the Bush campaign (the loyal work for which he became a political appointee). Close, but didn’t actually graduate – like Cheney at Yale.

    Science is not the same as Business or Military – it it were, you couldn’t demand to see their data and get to make graphs and videos like you do.
    __________________________________________________________________________
    Anu, I consulted a lawyer about this issue.

    The Corporation OWNS your information. You have no rights at all. If they wish to take 2 years of your work, slap the name of the company president’s son on it and present it to the world as the kid’s research (what happen to me) then they can and you have zero recourse under the law. The only exception to this is if you are a licensed professional engineer.

    If you lie on your resume you can also be fired. Turns out lying on a resume is very common here in the USA. “The small Business Report found that 80% of job applications contain false information regarding prior work history, while 30 percent of the information related to educational background is false.” Employment Law for Business fifth edition by Dawn D Bennett-Alexander & Laura P. Hartman

  123. Thanks for another stimulating and enjoyable post Steve.

    One of the problems in understanding the polar radiative balance is that the average albedo at any moment in time changes, depending on the amount of snow, surface water on top of the ice, age of ice (older = dirtier), wind conditions, e.t.c.

    Differences in the wavelength of solar radiation also have a big effect on the balance, with the proportion of UV being the most important. So no simplistic way to get a good fix on what will happen at max./min. each year and linear trends have little or no meaning regarding the sea ice cover.

    @ Anu: May 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm
    …Science is not the same as Business or Military – if it were, you couldn’t demand to see their data and get to make graphs and videos like you do.

    It’s a shame not all climate scientists are confident enough in their work to let others see their data. For example, Jones et al refused to supply information and either lost of hid the raw data to stop others checking their results.

  124. R. Gates: May 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm:

    So you take a (questionably accurate) graph that starts in 1900 and ends over a century later and want to panic about a ‘death spiral’ of ice cover.

    What was it that finished around 1850 – the Little Ice Age – and since then global temperatures have been rising and glaciers retreating albeit with some variance – as the Earth returns to closer to the Holocene average heat content and temperature. This is nothing to panic about – it is perfectly unexceptionally normal and to be expected and its nicer to be warm than cold.

    Now what WOULD be something to panic about would be a return to the Little Ice Age that would lead to death from starvation of many millions.

  125. There is an old yardstick for ice cover in the Arctic: the spring’s first boat from Norway to Svalbard.

    In 2007 there was no such thing. Longyearbyen remained ice free through the year.

    In 2010 the first boat reached Longyearbyen on May 4.

  126. 6 Cents per American = $20 million Sulfur tubes (e.g. as in Freakonomics)

    I am not a Religiously Pure Environmentalist.
    I refer to the cost for pumping Sulfur up to 20 miles high — studies of Mt. Pinatubo showing that 1/400th of her 20 million tons spewed out at all heights, could equal the Cooling effect of the Whole off it. Many people including the MOST famous Environmental Scientists on (even) the GREEN side are for this — eg “Gaia” Lovelock, “Dr. Ozone” (Paul Crutzen) — even Obama’s own GW advisor — and that was just as a PRECAUTION, to PREVENT A YEAR LIKE THIS.
    — at present, I would use ten, 3 mile tubes as we need not have it last for years.
    \
    + Heighten the Norilsk Nickel Plant smokestacks, & run an extra shift.
    +$1/ American for those “Cloudships” (probably too late)
    +Fly planes in circles = Contrails = Clouds

    I would NOT spend the 7% of GDP on cutting Carbon by 85% as estimated by the OECD = $3,300/American.

    >We may end up acting too late for anything except the Plane Option.
    >At present the Left resists ADDING sulfur (though it is tenths of a percent of our Sulfur CUTS)
    >The Right ridicules Cloud Ships
    >Norilsk changes do not actually ADD sulfur (e.g. buying Nickel in Summer rather than later, adds nothing, or putting the same amount higher: adds nothing) — even though we are talking dozens of times the Sulfur that Sulfur tube plans use. Maybe though, the Left might like that. So I will be writing Putin.

    Centuries from now, Schoolkids will learn that Putin SAVED THE WORLD.

    Please, Right Wingers: Impeach Obama — instead of that.
    OR:
    Please, Obama, “Protect & Defend” like your oath says
    (alas, “Cap & Trade” is favored by Politicians at Present, precisely BECAUSE it costs more! — Plus, for those who swill at the Government Trough, it makes even Carbon WORSE — thus not actually Solving the Problem & so ending their Free Lunch (so much so, that even HANSEN denounced it as a SCAM on Letterman !).

  127. Here is the Goddard Arctic sea ice extent and area data through this April:
    April
    year extent area
    1979 15.46 12.43
    1980 15.49 12.45
    1981 15.12 12.16
    1982 15.57 12.55
    1983 15.30 12.12
    1984 15.15 12.1
    1985 15.34 12.46
    1986 15.15 11.95
    1987 15.33 12.27
    1988 15.21 13.11
    1989 14.44 12.26
    1990 14.68 12.16
    1991 14.93 12.79
    1992 14.70 12.76
    1993 15.18 12.95
    1994 14.95 12.84
    1995 14.59 12.32
    1996 14.22 12.23
    1997 14.59 12.48
    1998 14.89 12.76
    1999 15.13 13.08
    2000 14.63 12.51
    2001 14.86 12.99
    2002 14.37 12.35
    2003 14.57 12.38
    2004 14.11 12.08
    2005 14.07 12.16
    2006 13.97 11.97
    2007 13.87 11.75
    2008 14.47 12.42
    2009 14.59 12.54
    2010 14.69 12.43

    I know that fits and trend lines don’t prove anything, but they do help us see the data more clearly, and polynomial fits above second or third degree all trend up at the current end. Also, linear regression lines through cyclical data is an almost useless practice.

  128. Steve Keohane says:
    May 26, 2010 at 7:58 am
    R. Gates says: May 26, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Gail Combs says:
    May 26, 2010 at 4:33 am
    “At the pole you are talking abouthigh angles of incident light. since the sun is close to the horizon most of the time.”

    ____________

    This might be true if the open ocean in the arctic was completely flat and horizontal and smooth like but the open ocean at the poles also has waves, and the incident light that falls on the sides of the waves actually strikes it much more directly than some realize.

    Think for a moment, R. If what you describe is happening, then a fairly equal amount of water on the other side of the wave trough receives zero sun, plus even more water is in the shadow of the far wall of the trough, so it averages out to a even less insolation than a smooth surface.

    __________________

    Thanks for your opinion, but I’d suggest you read this very well done study on ocean albedo and the effects of many factors, INCLUDING WAVES:

    http://www-cave.larc.nasa.gov/jin/Papers/jingrl04.pdf

    This is an excellent article, and I’d like to bring one quote to your from it:

    “The wind has little impact on the albedo at high sun but has
    a significant impact at low sun…”

    Why does the wind affect albedo to a significant degree at a low sun angle? Well, it sure isn’t because it’s “blowing the photons around” :)

    Nope, actually it’s because of the waves in the ocean produced by the wind.

    Bottom line: The albedo of the open arctic ocean (and therefore, the amount of radiation absorbed) is affected to a greater degree by waves than the ocean is near the equator, specifically because the angle of incidence is changed so much. Specifically, refer to the above study and look at the chart (figure 2.) the shows wind speed as charted against albedo. As wind speed increases, albedo decreases…and of course, as albedo decreases, the amount of absorbed SW radiation increases…thus more wind=more waves=greater SW radiation absorbed by the ocean at low sun angles, which is exactly what we have in the arctic.

  129. “…..So much for Dr. Hansen’s tipping points.
    Are you aware that the Sun has been getting 1% brighter every 100 million years ?
    And that people here argue about how powerful an effect 0.1% fluctuations in TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) caused by sunspots can be…

    As for 2,470 ppm of CO2 – this is compared to the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm, not the current level – the warming in the pipeline from increasing from 280 ppm to 390 ppm is not realized yet (large inertia in planet-scale climate changes). The 280 ppm level lasted many centuries.

    280 –> 2,470 would be a factor of 8.8. More than 3 doublings.
    Each CO2 doubling causes 3 +/- 1.5 °C change in planetary temperature.
    About 9 °C warming. On average. Some regions much higher.”

    So much for Charles S. Opalek, PE teacher of climatology nonsense.
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    I am sure you are referring to Page 446 of the IPCC 4AR which has the following text, “ Ice core records show that atmospheric CO2 varied in the range 180 to 300 ppm over the glacial-interglacial cycles of the last 650kyr…”
    The problem is 280 ppm CO2 is not a solid number. Basically plants stop growing at 200 ppm. When CO2 drops to 220 ppm grasses become the dominant plant species since they can still grow at these levels while most bushy plants and trees can’t. Stomata data by Wagner, Aaby and Visscher prove conclusively that the ice core data is seriously in error. The ice core data can be corrected using J.J.Drake’s correlation, the profile does not change but the ppm values do so the analysis is still valid.

    Researchers find carbon dioxide,is not well mixed in the troposphere, but is rather “lumpy” – NASA

    Atmospheric CO2 1826 to 1960 WITH ERROR BARS!

    Abstract
    “The atmospheric CO2 mixing ratio has fluctuated widely over the Phanerozoic, according to the estimates from available proxy records. Because atmospheric CO2 is a major greenhouse gas, these fluctuations should have led to significant climatic variations. The “classical” view is indeed that atmospheric CO2 has been the main driver of the Earth’s climate history. On long-term time scales, the atmospheric CO2 level is the result of the balance between CO2 inputs from volcanoes or oxidation of old organic carbon (kerogen) in exposed rocks and outputs through silicate weathering or organic carbon deposition. Existing model reconstructions of the Phanerozoic history of atmospheric CO2 are based on such budgets. Recent data and model experiments currently challenge these models. First, the carbon cycle may be more complex than represented in the earliest models. In particular, silicate weathering depends on numerous factors, which are not obvious to model or are poorly known over the Phanerozoic. Mountain uplift is one such factor, which has been much debated in the last decade. Lithology is another example: basalts weather much more rapidly than other silicate rocks and the emplacement of large basaltic areas on the continents may trigger glaciations. Continental configuration is also more important than previously thought, as indicated by recent model experiments on super-continent fragmentation coupling geochemical and climate models. Problems of “classical” Phanerozoic CO2 models are also well illustrated by the fact that the most recent estimates of CO2 degassing show very little variation between the Cretaceous and the present, a period when large changes in CO2 have occurred, whereas degassing is the most important forcing of CO2 evolution in long-term carbon cycle models. Second, CO2 is not the only driver of climate evolution. This obvious fact has largely been forgotten in Phanerozoic studies. What the proxies tell us on paleo-atmospheric CO2 is not always in line with what we know about paleoclimatic records. For instance, the proxies suggest relatively high CO2 levels during the Late Ordovician glaciations. Similarly, the Late Jurassic now appears to be colder than earlier thought, while again proxies suggest high atmospheric CO2 at that time. The mid-Miocene climate warming, which occurs simultaneously with a drop in CO2, provides another example. This latter change in CO2 is unanimously reflected in all proxies and, so, this decoupling between CO2 and climate cannot arise from uncertainties on the reconstructed CO2 levels or from dating problems, as might be the case of the former two examples. Other climatic drivers than CO2 clearly need to be considered. In this respect, vegetation- climate feedbacks have been completely disregarded in long-term climatic studies. Cenozoic cooling is, however, accompanied by a progressive transition from closed forests to more widespread grasslands and deserts on the continental areas, a change which must have had major impacts on the surface albedo and the water cycle. “ http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2006AGUFMPP23E..01F

    And then there is the usual problem. Can you trust the data. NASA says CO2 distribution is surprisingly “lumpy” yet the data we have been getting for ages has been surprisingly “smooth” Perhaps this may contribute to the problem: Greenhouse Gas Observatories Downwind from Erupting Volcanoes
    text

  130. “Sea ice concentration is considerably higher now than it was on this date 20 years ago.”

    Hardly surprising, 1990 was the 2nd warmest January to May in 351yrs in Central England, the warmest was 2007.

  131. Steve Keohane says: May 26, 2010 at 7:17 am
    As one approaches an object from a distance, it gets larger, not smaller.

    Agreed. Here are the links again. Right click “open in new tab” for each so you can flip back and forth, and pay attention to the stars surrounding the Earth. This makes it very evident that the observation point is closer to the Earth in 2010.

    Please explain how the Arctic area shrinks from a closer observation point.

    By “Arctic area” do you mean the boundary of ice? I agree, if there was no change in boundary, a closer observation point would make it appear larger. Since it does not appear larger, I would conclude the the 2010 ice is not spread out as far as the 1990 ice. However, the % concentration shown by color over the two images shows 2010 to be more concentrated. So we’re talking about ice chunks being packed more tightly in 2010 and not being as spread out as in 1990.

    Here is a scale drawing of the earth and the two points of observation. The satellite is obviously too close to capture the full diameter of the earth, so it is within the area where the relative size of the features can vary in area wrt the diameter of the earth, but not in the way you describe.

    Good point. The diagram indeed explains that >50% of the surface is blocked by the horizon. In order to see the full diameter of the planet, the observation point would need to be at infinity distance, or the planet would need to be cut in half by divine intervention (preferably with me riding in a comfy cockpit of the satellite). As for the relative size of features, as an object gets closer, the nearest features should appear to enlarge at a faster rate than the farthest ones, unless the features themselves were changing in shape/size during the trip. So although it is obvious that the ice is not as spread out in 2010 as in 1990, it would be hard to quantify the statement without normalizing the data by 3 dimensional projection/scaling operations (as opposed to simple 2D scale/crop operations).

  132. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm
    Not much light makes it into water at low angles. We are all very familiar with this in a practical sense.

    ___________

    Only true if there is no wind. On a windy (i.e. lots of waves in the water) more SW radiation makes in into the water. See this article:

    http://www-cave.larc.nasa.gov/jin/Papers/jingrl04.pdf

    And refer specifically to the chart which graphs albedo versus wind speed. In short, for oceans with low sun angle, the higher the wind, the lower the albedo, and therefore the greater the absorption of SW radiation by the water.

    It certainly goes against intution to think a clear but windy day in the open arctic ocean with the sun low on the horizon would see a greater insolation of the water, but that is exactly the case.

    REPLY: And clear windy days in the Arctic are likely to be the exception, not the norm. This document (a class synopsis) at http://www.uccs.edu/~faculty/chuber/ges100/Chapt4-McK9.doc

    From Carole Huber of the University of Colorado says in section 6C agrees with what Steve says

    C. Latitudinal Radiation Balance (Figs 4-23 and 4-24)
    1. energy surplus in low latitudes, from 28oN to 33oS
    2. energy deficit in latitudes poleward of 28oN and 33oS

    Section 7c says:

    1) in water turbulent mixing and ocean currents (convection) disperse heat more broadly and deeply

    So the question is then, on a clear windy day, does the wavy turbulent water gain more heat than it loses? Given the mass transport (spray, which increases radiative surface area) from wind and constant mixing, it would seem not.

    The wave to greater insolation effect you propose certainly exists sometimes, dependent on weather, but is small in the overall radiation balance.

    – A

  133. “Sea ice concentration is considerably higher now than it was on this date 20 years ago.”

    I imagine if you integrated the total heat of fusion between the two, the differences would be even higher because the 1990 ice looks much thinner.

    Perhaps an even better measure would be total heat transfer flux versus total heat of fusion. The former would include air temps, wind speed, and solar insolation. You could then compare your model to real data and be able to make predictions.

  134. Anu says:
    May 25, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    In a few days, it will probably drop below 2006, thus entering “lowest extent in recorded data for this date” territory.

    Imagine you were back in 2006, and looking at that graph with the newly-minted “lowest extent in recorded data for this date” territory being produced as you watched. How very scary! From late April, all the way through July or so… record-setting low extents “for this date”.

    Surely, this must imply ominous things for the minimum extent that will happen for that you. Why, that minimum is sure to be staggeringly low. I wonder how it will turn out?

    Oh wait, I’m in the future too… so I know now how it turned out. That “lowest extent in recorded data for this date” turned out to have no predictive value whatsoever for how the minimum would turn out, or for that matter what the recovery leg would look like and the subsequent maximum, and therefore no reasonable predictions about ‘spirals’ can be made from something like this.

    There is substantial jitter year-over-year with measurements that are this artificially crude. The graph should make that abundantly clear. I see these sorts of ‘records’ as “interesting” in much the same way that horoscopes, tea-leaf patterns or the I Ching are interesting.

    We’ll know more about what happens this year after it has happened. Until then, continued plots of this nature will almost certainly create new excursions into ‘record breaking’ areas, if only because of the nature of how little data has been gathered so far in such a jittery process.

  135. May 25, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    How come that “effects of greenhouse warming” were not able to beat historical temperature records in Arctic so far?

    Not speaking about the starting decline. Hide the decline! HIDE THE DECLINE!
    __________________________________________________________________________
    GEE, is that little hook at the end of the graph the “tipping point”???…if so it is a travesty it is not headed up instead of down.

  136. For some of you who may actually have the time and inclination to play with some atmospheric and ocean radiative transfer models yourself. Try:

    http://snowdog.larc.nasa.gov/jin/rtset.html

    And to play with albedo, windspeed, longitude, etc, try:

    http://snowdog.larc.nasa.gov/jin/albedofind.html

    As you play with the above models (which have proven quite accurate by the way) you’ll see there is a lot more to SW absorption by the oceans than simply longitude.

    REPLY: “playing” with models is what got us all into this mess. -A

  137. This article has a graph showing Reflectivity of smooth water at 20 C (refractive index=1.333)” for those asking about the reflection of infrared light by water. The article also states “water is usually considered to have a very low albedo in spite of its high reflectivity at high angles of incident light.” That statement seems to indicate that steve was correct polar light, coming in at a “high angle” is going to get reflected and not absorbed. As indicated by the statement “Although the reflectivity of water is very low at low and medium angles of incident light, it increases tremendously at high angles of incident light such as occur on the illuminated side of the Earth near the terminator (early morning, late afternoon and near the poles)”

    The article is here: http://www.answers.com/topic/albedo

  138. Anthony said:

    “REPLY: And clear windy days in the Arctic are likely to be the exception, not the norm. This document (a class synopsis) at http://www.uccs.edu/~faculty/chuber/ges100/Chapt4-McK9.doc

    From Carole Huber of the University of Colorado says in section 6C agrees with what Steve says

    C. Latitudinal Radiation Balance (Figs 4-23 and 4-24)
    1. energy surplus in low latitudes, from 28oN to 33oS
    2. energy deficit in latitudes poleward of 28oN and 33oS

    Section 7c says:

    1) in water turbulent mixing and ocean currents (convection) disperse heat more broadly and deeply

    So the question is then, on a clear windy day, does the wavy turbulent water gain more heat than it loses? Given the mass transport (spray, which increases radiative surface area) from wind and constant mixing, it would seem not.

    The wave to greater insolation effect you propose certainly exists sometimes, dependent on weather, but is small in the overall radiation balance.

    _____________

    Certainly some ideas of merit here, however many more variables are also to be considered, such as the fact of the type of cloud cover there is, as LW backradiation increases on days with stratus cloud cover etc.

    Also, in general, I went into some detail on the effect of waves and SW absorption simply because I felt under a bit of attack from certain posters who seemed to riducle the idea that waves could affect albedo, and hence the absorption of SW radiation.

    In sum, it still seems that an open arctic ocean certainly absorbs more SW radiation that some might imagine simply by looking at it from only a time of year or longitudinal basis, as there are many more factors at work, which one can play with for hours (if you’re really bored) here:

    http://snowdog.larc.nasa.gov/jin/rtset.html

  139. Gail Combs says:
    May 26, 2010 at 9:22 am

    The Corporation OWNS your information.
    Yes, private for-profit corporations pretty much have written the laws to protect themselves and their profits. Look at the way RCA stole FM radio from Prof. Armstrong and drove him to suicide:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Howard_Armstrong
    (another Columbia professor, BTW).

    However, NASA is not a private for-profit corporation.
    Trying to muzzle a high-profile NASA scientist and Columbia Professor, while at scientific conferences, has a high political cost in the self-proclaimed “Leader of the Free World”.

    It was an interesting story – snippets below:

    A Young Bush Appointee Resigns His Post at NASA
    Published: February 8, 2006

    George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters’ access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word “theory” at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said.

    Mr. Deutsch’s resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted.

    The resignation came as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was preparing to review its policies for communicating science to the public. The review was ordered Friday by Michael D. Griffin, the NASA administrator, after a week in which many agency scientists and midlevel public affairs officials described to The New York Times instances in which they said political pressure was applied to limit or flavor discussions of topics uncomfortable to the Bush administration, particularly global warming.

    “As we have stated in the past, NASA is in the process of revising our public affairs policies across the agency to ensure our commitment to open and full communications,” the statement from Mr. Acosta said.

    The statement said the resignation of Mr. Deutsch was “a separate matter.”

    Mr. Deutsch, 24, was offered a job as a writer and editor in NASA’s public affairs office in Washington last year after working on President Bush’s re-election campaign and inaugural committee, according to his résumé. No one has disputed those parts of the document.

    “George Carlton Deutsch III did attend Texas A&M University but has not completed the requirements for a degree,” said an e-mail message from Rita Presley, assistant to the registrar at the university, responding to a query from The Times.

    Yesterday, Dr. Hansen said that the questions about Mr. Deutsch’s credentials were important, but were a distraction from the broader issue of political control of scientific information.

    “He’s only a bit player,” Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Deutsch. ” The problem is much broader and much deeper and it goes across agencies. That’s what I’m really concerned about.”

    “On climate, the public has been misinformed and not informed,” he said. “The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means an honestly informed public. That’s the big issue here.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/08/politics/08nasa.html?_r=1

    Compare to Alan Carlin, low level economist in the EPA, speaking out on FOX News and in the media against what he thinks is incorrect science being used by the Obama Administration:


    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/25/science/earth/25epa.html?pagewanted=all

    I guess his resume was in order :-)

  140. For readers interested in arctic sea ice extent during the 1950s and early 1960s, NSIDC has a product online at their data section called “Environmental Working Group Joint US-Russian Arctic Sea Ice Atlas” which shows schematic maps of extent.

  141. Anu said in reply to me;

    “The satellite data for the Arctic ice in the early 1970′s shows that it was even “historically higher”, then.”

    Thank you for the genuinely interesting link concerning commencement of satellite coverage of ice from December 1972. This satellite only operated for three years until 1976 and had two major limitations in calculating ice, which is why satellite recording is said to begin from 1979. We can agree however that the 1970’s generally were a period of high ice, as this coincided with the global cooling scare-much more widely believed then than many like to accept today.

    As for anecdotal evidence being inferior to computer models (which even the IPCC admit are unreliable) here are a series of links demonstrating that ‘abnormality’ is the norm as far as sea ice melt is concerned

    The start of Satellite measuring in 1979 coincided with peak ice, following a extended cooling period, which is why arctic scientists always speak of subsequent decline; History suggests you should look at a much longer time scale than thirty years which will put the modern era into its proper context..

    Link 1 Ice extent maximum- Depends if you are talking winter or summer but ‘decline’ starts around 1979 from a high point.
    http://geology.com/articles/northwest-passage.shtml

    Link 2 This also shows the same;

    Link 3 The IPCC report confirms this p351/2 figures 4.8 4.9 4.10
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter4.pdf

    Link 4 The concerns over global cooling in the 70’s did have some basis in fact. There were a series of low temperatures in many arctic areas during the 1960’s and 70’s which ice would have corresponded to by growing.
    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Scientific/Arctic.htm

    Link 5 From the CIA further confirmation of the cold period during this time.
    http://www.climatemonitor.it/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/1974.pdf

    As the IPCC show, the start of the satellite period therefore roughly coincided with a period of peak ice-so it is not at all surprising that as part of its natural cycle it should subsequently decline.

    Link 6: The IPCC are not very good at their historic reconstructions and generally view actual observations as ‘anecdotal.’ They seem to believe that history did not start before 1979. My article examines the arctic melting in the period 1810-1860 -see notes at bottom of article with additional references.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/#comments

    Link 7: The next two links are good studies showing the arctic melting from the 1920’s to 1940’s; The first shows a warm period during the 1930s and 1940s with temperatures as high as those of today ftp://ftp.whoi.edu/pub/users/mtimmermans/ArcticSymposiumTalks/Smolyanitsky.pdf

    Link 8: The second link illustrates reduced sea ice extent during this period, which only later returned to the high levels measured at the start of the latest retreating cycle in 1979 (when satellite measurements started).
    http://meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/Chylek/greenland_warming.html

    Link 9: The melting in the period 1920-1940 is very well documented.
    Expeditions to the arctic to view the melting ice became the equivalent of todays celebrity jaunts to the area. The most famous were those mounted by Bob Bartlett on the Morrissey. I have carried extracts from his diary before-amongst the observation are a description of a mile wide face of a glacier falling in to the sea. There are pathe news reels of his voyages dating from the era, as well as books on the subject. Here is a bibliography of material relating to him. The diaries are of particlar interest.
    http://www.nlpubliclibraries.ca/nlcollection/pdf/guides/NL_Collection_Guide_11.pdf

    Link 10 Bernaerts, A. (2007). Can the “Big Warming” at Spitsbergen from 1918 to 1940 be explained? PACON 2007 Proceedings 325-337.
    http://www.arctic-heats-up.com/pdf/Submitted_conference_paper.pdf

    Link 11 This shows a variety of arctic warming events over the last 150 years
    http://www.examiner.com/x-32936-Seminole-County-Environmental-News-Examiner~y2010m3d2-Arctic-Ocean-is-warming-icebergs-growing-scarcer-reports-Washington-Post

    Link 12: We have got this far citing instances of warming and not even mentioned the Vikings 1000 years ago…instead let’s look at another Arctic culture that thrived 1000 years before the Vikings;
    From the Eskimo Times Monday, Mar. 17, 1941
    “The corner of Alaska nearest Siberia was probably man’s first threshold to the Western Hemisphere. So for years archeologists have dug there for a clue to America’s prehistoric past. Until last year, all the finds were obviously Eskimo. Then Anthropologists Froelich G. Rainey of the University of Alaska and two collaborators struck the remains of a town, of inciedible size and mysterious culture. Last week in Natural History Professor Rainey, still somewhat amazed, described this lost Arctic city.
    It lies at Ipiutak on Point Hope, a bleak sandspit in the Arctic Ocean, where no trees and little grass survive endless gales at 30° below zero. But where houses lay more than 2,000 years ago, underlying refuse makes grass and moss grow greener. The scientists could easily discern traces of long avenues and hundreds of dwelling sites. A mile long, a quarter-mile wide, this ruined city was perhaps as big as any in Alaska today (biggest: Juneau, pop. 5,700).
    On the Arctic coast today an Eskimo village of even 250 folk can catch scarcely enough seals, whales, caribou to live on. What these ancient Alaskans ate is all the more puzzling because they seem to have lacked such Arctic weapons as the Eskimo harpoon.
    Yet they had enough leisure to make many purely artistic objects, some of no recognizable use. Their carvings are vaguely akin to Eskimo work but so sophisticated and elaborate as to indicate a relation with some centre of advanced culture — perhaps Japan or southern Siberia —certainly older than the Aztec or Mayan.
    This link leads to the Academy of science report of the same year regarding the Ipiutak culture described above
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1078291

    Link 13 This from the late John Daly has numerous references to previous periods of arctic warming.
    http://www.john-daly.com/polar/arctic.htm

    Link 14: This link shows various historic maps which again show that modern ice melt is the norm, not the exception. One of Greenland shows it as two separated islands and was cited by a polar French expedition which asserted that there is an ice cap joining what it is actually two islands. This extraordinary claim is backed up by observations from an 1820 Greenland expedition whereby locals remarked on folk lore which said the same thing. (see reference in Link 6)
    http://www.nymapsociety.org/FEATURES/TRAGER.HTM

    Link 15
    We seem to have known more about dispersal of ice by wind and currents 150 years ago than we do now, factors which have a profound efect on extent, area, and melting. Many books date from the scientific expeditions mounted since 1820 that examined the ‘unprecdented ice melt in the arctic reported to the Royal Sociery. This book dates from 1870
    http://www.archive.org/stream/arcticgeographye00roya#page/28/mode/2up

    Certain of us seem reluctant to learn the lessons of history-in this case that there are periods of melting and refreeze of the Arctic area that appear to follow a roughly 60/70 year cycle. The early satellite records coincided with one of the High spots of Arctic ice following a long cool period and we may or may not be at the low point in the cycle-that will become clearer over the next five years.

    Whatever the alarmists may believe, at present our modern era is not displaying any climate characteristics that have not been experienced in past ages of humanity.

    tonyb

  142. drunkenson says:
    May 26, 2010 at 2:45 am

    “A pedant is someone who interferes with small words”

    I wonder if it is a syndrom? And the name for it would then be … what?

    This AGW hysteria might be known (in 2035) as Munch-Hansen syndrom.

    I avoided the s at the end. Not sure whether it would be
    Munch-Hansen’s or
    Munch-Hansens syndrom.

    hehe.

  143. Anu says:
    May 26, 2010 at 9:02 am

    tonyb says:
    May 26, 2010 at 12:23 am

    It melted abnormally in the period 1915 to 1940
    It melted abnormally in the period 1820 to 1860 (see my article here)

    It melted abnormally in the period 1700-1740
    It melted abnormally in the 1400′s.
    It melted extremely abnormally around 1000 AD (the Vikings) and 1000 years before that (The Ipiatuk).
    Did it ever disappear entirely in the summer melt during these times ?
    No?
    Then if it does this century, that would be “extremely abnormal”, would you agree ?
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    Yes it probably melted around 1000 AD – the Vikings

    Here are the Greenland temperatures: Greenland Ice Core Data

    Please note, during the time when the vikings (Norse) were in Greenland, Greenland was a full 2C warmer than today. If everyone is bleating “It’s Melting” today then during the period 986 to 1121, when we know the Norse were sailing in that area to hunt whale, seal and polar bears, it would have to have been ice free during the summer. If it was not ice free, at that much higher temperature, then what the heck are the believers in AGW so worried about? (Sorry R. Gates you can not have it both ways – frozen for the vikings and melted for the future) Either that 2C is critical and means an Ice free Arctic during the time of the Norse occupation of Greenland or it is not critical and the Arctic is safe “from a death spiral”

    And yes the Norse were all over the Arctic including on an island in the Arctic circle.
    “…The settlers found that the area to the north of the Western Settlement, called the Nordseta, was good for hunting, fishing and gathering driftwood. A stone inscribed with runes has been found telling that in 1333, three Greenlanders wintered on the island of Kingigtorssuaq just below 73 degrees north. There is also evidence of voyages to the Canadian arctic. Two cairns have been discovered in Jones Sound above 76 degrees North and two more have been found on Washington Irving Island at 79 degrees north….” http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/vikings/Greenland.html

    Washington Irving Island is at the entrance to Dobbin Bay, eastern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada See the map and notice this area is well within the arctic circle and not that far from the north pole.

    How the heck did they build a rock cairn on an island without sailing to it while it was warm enough to dig those rocks out of the ground, in other words while the sea was not frozen. Ellesmere Island is about 1000 km or 600 miles from the north pole (measured on the computer screen)

  144. R. Gates says:
    May 26, 2010 at 7:15 am

    You are not a dull person, I’ll give you that.
    As for current anomalises:
    Arctic = -1.010
    Antarctic = 0.799
    Global = -0.211
    The Teeter-Totter of Icy Anomalies.

  145. Vincent says:
    May 26, 2010 at 1:11 am
    I see now. So whereas a trend would go straight down, a death spiral goes up and down.

    It’s <- called milking the audience.

  146. Has anyone ever considered that reduced Arctic sea ice may be the driver and increased temperatures are the result? How would we know?

  147. I decided on a name for this polar bear – Triumph, the insult comic polar bear.

    Triumph says… “Yes, Mr. Hansen your point that the Arctic is nearing a melt tipping point is a most excellent one – for me to poop on!”
    —-

    tonyb says: May 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm
    Whatever the alarmists may believe, at present our modern era is not displaying any climate characteristics that have not been experienced in past ages of humanity

    True but alarmists are alarmingly good at wiggling their way out from under the facts. Faced with the facts concerning past climate they predictably will turn to the rate at which those climates changed. As information becomes available to ascertain that today’s rate is comparably unremarkable they turn to ocean pH. When caught trying to explain how CO2 can lower ocean pH when CO2 being released from the warming oceans was part of their positive feedback argument, they turn to plant life transpiration being reduced by more CO2 as a ‘new’ positive feedback or that the MWP obviously didn’t happen in the southern hemisphere because no one wrote about it back then or it’s back to some ‘new’ worse news about disease or…. there’s just no end to their weasel ways.

    People like Hansen just keep making one unproven claim after the next that are parroted by their shills in MSM leaving us to try to rebuff them in blogs like this one, (that progressive thugs would love to muzzle if they could).

    So I think it’s time to encourage a permanent Anthony Watts spot on Fox News to counter the statements of political hacks like Hansen in the same media that they get to bathe in. My suggestion for a name is “Time for Climate Clarity” by Anthony Watts.

    ???

  148. Vincent, Reur May 26, 2010 at 1:08 am

    I have another question though Anna. Can you explain why it is that IR feels warm on your skin but radiation in the visible spectrum only would not feel warm? What is it about IR that it can do this but visible can’t?

    Some visible light which is NOT reflected by the skin is in fact absorbed via dermal molecular excitation from photons, and is thus converted to HEAT, which is sensed by the nerve endings. (in addition to the solar near IR/near IR, a higher percentage of which is NOT reflected, but some is absorbed by the atmospheric GHG’s on the way in)

  149. Gail Combs says:
    May 26, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I am sure you are referring to Page 446 of the IPCC 4AR which has the following text, “ Ice core records show that atmospheric CO2 varied in the range 180 to 300 ppm over the glacial-interglacial cycles of the last 650kyr…”

    Don’t be so sure of yourself.
    I was referring to “pre-industrial” CO2 level of 280 ppm – but “pre” in this context means 8 to 20 centuries, not 650,000 years or 550 million years. Technically, since the formation of the Earth (or since the Big Bang theory) up until 1750 or so has been “pre-industrial”, but for the purposes of CO2 doubling and climate response, a few centuries suffices.
    The value given by IPCC 2001, page 185, is 280 ± 10 ppm.

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg.html
    CO2: Pre-1750 tropospheric concentration: 280
    Concentrations in parts per million (ppm)
    The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) is the primary climate-change data and information analysis center of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). CDIAC is located at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and includes the World Data Center for Atmospheric Trace Gases.

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2005/s2412.htm
    Scientific measurements of levels of CO2 contained in cylinders of ice, called ice cores, indicate that the pre-industrial carbon dioxide level was 278 ppm. That level did not vary more than 7 ppm during the 800 years between 1000 and 1800 A.D.

    Although the Miocene (23 to 5.3 million years ago) is “pre-industrial”, the CO2 caused global warming will be wrt the 280 ppm of the last 1000 years.
    Paleoclimatologists study these long-ago climates, but since the data on continent locations, sea levels, atmospheric compositions, exact solar TSI, biosphere, volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts, for example, are very poor, it is hard to plug these “initial conditions” into the GCM’s of today to see how the climate evolved, back then.

    That’s not to say it hasn’t been attempted:
    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2005/permian.shtml
    Again, the main problem is lack of detailed starting conditions for these climatic models, which, with the satellites and Argo floats and Arctic airplane flights and data stations on every continent, is much better in the last century.
    Note that for the Permian modelling, the Sun itself is much dimmer 251 million years ago (about 2.5% dimmer).

  150. Does Dr. James Hansen make reckless extrapolations way beyond existing data or without any data at all? Sure.

    Is the summer sea ice disappearing because of some mysterious “tipping point”? Probably not.

    It doesn’t require a tipping point. All it takes is a slowly increasing arctic temperature decade after decade. The September 21 ice edge will slowly creep farther north every decade until most of the Canadian and Greenland northern shoreline is melt zone and then the wind or current will push the remaining ice into melt zones and bye bye summer ice.

    At the rate the ice is disappearing, it will be totally melted by around 2040. (A reckless extrapolation of course.) Fortunately, it always comes back when the lights go out after the equinox.

  151. Hansen predicted that at the latest within 10 years from now the road that is visible from his office (adjascent to the Hudson River) will be under water. If it is not he will either be retired or dead and will probably refuse to answer questions from the media. Oops! Sorry, from the sceptics. ;o)

  152. R. Gates says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I don’t really care what the arctic does.

    What would the impact be if the whole thing went away?

    Nothing.

    And if it did go away, what evidence is there that mankind had anything do to with it?

  153. @Gail Combs says:
    May 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    What about the one Christopher Monckton got flack for quoting, the Chinese Navy sailing round an ice free Arctic in 1421; http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/pseudosc/1421.htm
    I am in no doubt that there was an extremely hot N.H summer that year, no ice at all may be a bit of artistic licence though.

  154. @Vincent says:
    May 26, 2010 at 1:08 am
    ” Can you explain why it is that IR feels warm on your skin but radiation in the visible spectrum only would not feel warm? What is it about IR that it can do this but visible can’t?”

    Have you ever held a torch against closed fingers and seen them glow red? I.R. and some visible red penetrates into the flesh, the rest of the visible spectrum and U.V. gets relflected, or absorbed into the skin, and re-emitted as light and radiation, varying depending on your skin colour. Dark skin absorbs and radiates heat faster.

  155. Mike says: The heat would not have been in the water to radiate out if the ice had been there. The amount of energy radiating out of the dark ocean is less than the amount that would be reflected and radiated back by the white ice.

    Sorry, but no. At the ICCC there was a very interesting presentation ( I can look up the reference if I need to, but it was in one of the Science Tracks, I think Track 1) that showed that the Pacific heats up, then over 18 years, that heat slowly propagates north until it hits Alaska and enters the Arctic Ocean. That heat radiating from the Arctic is from 18 year old Pacific water heating. So, mark your calendar. Peak Heat was 1998 or so, add 18, that’s 2016. From that time onward, the Arctic starts freezing up very very hard. You have at most 6 more years of panic over arctic ice, then we head back to severe cold arctic conditions.

    BTW, that will also be when Polar Bears start dying (now they are thriving and increasing in numbers due to the greater ease of catching seals through the holes in the ice). Also note, the Polar Bears in the San Diego Zoo have no problems with the heat and don’t do any ‘fasting’ in the summer… These guys are just a white and more aquatic version of the Grizz, and have no problem eating warm things in warm weather. If you do not believe that, please rub bacon on yourself and go for a stroll on the edge of Polar Bear country…

  156. Ulric Lyons says:
    May 26, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Not a whole lot different from the Vikings sailing as far as 79 deg. N Latitude.
    Though, with the Vikings, cairns have been found.

  157. So, this tipping point business is decidedly concurrent.
    As the Arctic hits -1.0M km2 anomaly, the Antarctic is not far behind at +.8M km2 anomaly.
    Why? What’s up with the Antarctic going positively berserk making ice?

  158. @stevengoddard says:
    “REPLY: And clear windy days in the Arctic are likely to be the exception, not the norm”

    Days when the Arctic sea is flat as a mirror would be the rarest. Even little waves will vary the angle of incidence considerably. Try it out with a torch on a swimming pool in the dark!
    Arctic ice melt carries on for as long as the sun is shining on it, and low Sun angles will reflect more light off the water onto the ice edges accelerating loss of margins. Loss by sulblimation and ablation will happen a very low temperatures under direct sunlight, so it is not just the water that is causing seasonal ice loss, as it is clear that when the Sun remains below the horizon from early October, is when the ice starts to re-form.

  159. stevengoddard says:
    May 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Richard M

    NSIDC reports that warm autumn air temperatures in the Arctic are often due to heat released from seawater as it freezes.

    I realize that, I’m looking at it longer term. What proof do we have that the sea ice isn’t melting due to other conditions (like EM Smith’s ocean circulation or possibly geothermal induced ocean warming, or both). The lower ice extent reflects less heat and the Arctic warms. This reduces the flow of heat from the lower latitudes and you end up with a slight warming of the globe … especially the NH.

    Has anyone seriously questioned cause and effect?

  160. Ancient records confirm Arctic warming due to man
    If Arctic warming continues at its current rate, the Arctic Ocean could have ice-free summers by 2040 or even earlier, modelling studies suggest. The last time the ocean may have had ice-free seasons was around 10,000 years ago, when the region was getting much more sunlight than today due to Earth’s orbital fluctuations. By using geological records to piece together the history of Arctic sea ice over the last 50 million years, scientists have shown that the combined magnitude and abruptness of the recent ice loss is likely higher than ever before and can’t be explained by any known natural variables.

    Leonid Polyak, from the Byrd Polar Research Center of Ohio State University, US, and colleagues employed marine sediment cores and ice-core and terrestrial Arctic temperature records. Palaeoclimate proxies found in these sediments, such as ice-rafted debris, microscopic organisms, driftwood, whalebone, and plant material, indicate the presence or absence of sea ice in a particular region. Historical records and satellite data complete the picture for modern times.

    The proxy records show that around 50 million years ago the Arctic was a balmy place, with summer temperatures as high as 24 °C and subtropical aquatic ferns basking in the warm waters. Then around 47 million years ago sea ice started to form, most probably encouraged by a fall in atmospheric carbon dioxide and an accompanying drop in temperatures.

    Atmospheric carbon dioxide continued to decrease – caused in part by weathering of rocks as the Earth reorganised its continents – and temperatures fell. Then around 3 million years ago the carbon dioxide decline slowed and regular glacial cycles started to dominate temperature changes, driven by orbital variations which alter the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth. Since then the Earth has swung predictably from glacial to interglacial and back again, every few tens of thousands of years. Emerging data suggest that Arctic sea-ice was probably much reduced during the major interglacials.

    For the last 11,000 years or so we have been enjoying a relatively warm, low-ice interglacial period, with a gentle cooling as we head towards the next glacial. “From orbital variations, we’d expect the Arctic to continue to slowly cool as it has done so for the past several thousand years, eventually slipping into a new ice age,” said Mark Serreze director of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado.

    But the last 100 years have bucked the trend in a big way. “We’ve lost about 30% of the summer ice extent and as much as 85% of the multi-year ice volume since the 1970s,” Serreze told environmentalresearchweb. And this decrease can’t be explained by natural variations alone. “If you ignored our recent atmospheric carbon dioxide rise, the recent reduction in sea ice in the Arctic would look highly anomalous, because it comes at a time when orbits favour extensive sea ice,” said Richard Alley from Pennsylvania State University.

    Publishing their findings in Quaternary Science Reviews, Polyak and his colleagues conclude that the recent decrease in Arctic sea ice doesn’t fit any of the natural variabilities known from existing paleoclimatic data. This conclusion implies that the most plausible trigger for this warming is rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels coming from human activities. “Orbital variations, which are currently slowly cooling the Arctic, are still there, it’s just that climate warming due to human activities is now dominating and operating on a much shorter timescale – about 100 years – than orbital variations – [which operate over] thousands of years,” explained Serreze.

    The implications of ice-free summers in the Arctic within a few decades are of great concern. Coastal erosion will likely increase and many ice-adapted species will struggle, which will inevitably affect the human inhabitants of the Arctic. Out beyond the Arctic, weather systems will alter as atmospheric circulation patterns adjust to the effect of an ice-free Arctic Ocean.

    As the geological record shows, the Arctic has occasionally been ice-free in the past. However, the current speed of on-going change is exceptional. “In the past, one went from heavier ice to milder, or ice-free, conditions over the span of thousands of years,” said Serreze. “Now we are talking about doing it in 100 years, or less. Can species like polar bears adapt to such rapid change? We’ll see.”

  161. Ulric Lyons

    There are other things besides reflectance which attenuate Arctic light at low angles. The long path through the atmosphere probably reduces light by 90+%, and the long projection on the surface at low angles attenuates it even more. sin(5 degrees) = 0.09. Between reflectance, long atmospheric paths, and long projections – the net effect is that sunlight entering the ocean is reduced by a couple of orders of magnitude relative to the equator.

    Sounds like a good topic for an article.

  162. Jack Simmons says:
    May 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Jack, really you think there would be no impact of the Arctic sea ice cover were to disappear during summers? Really? Do you understand what drives our atmospheric and oceanic circulation?

  163. Jack Simmons says:
    May 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t really care what the arctic does.

    _____________

    I wonder if that is the common attitude of AGW skeptics? I would hope not, but if it is, it would explain a great deal…

  164. Arctic net radiation balance is negative from August till April.
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/GlobalMaps/view.php?d1=MOD_LSTAD_M&d2=CERES_NETFLUX_M

    But yearly ice loss starts when the Sun first shines on it, and stops when the Sun stops shining on it. Give it colder winter and there is more ice, a warmer summer and there is less ice, generaly. I do think there has been a reduction in Arctic/N.H. atmospheric water vapour since July 2007, and the following wet summers, that could be partly responsible for declining summer ice.
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/GlobalMaps/view.php?d1=MYDAL2_M_SKY_WV#

  165. And then there was 1…

    Just one year had a lower amount of arctic sea ice than 2010 for this time of year in the past 8 years…and that was 2006, and then just baresly (based on IJIS/JAXA data), and from the steep rate of decline, it looks like 2010 will soon eclipse that year as well. See:

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Of course it’s purely of interest in a statistical manner, but it shows how rapid the early melt has been when the sea ice extent can go from the highest in the past 8 years to very close to the lowest in just about 1 month. We would not expect this rapid melt to continue UNLESS, this graph:

    Is more accurate than some might think, and all that multi-year ice will also melt fast once the 1st year ice has been eaten away…

  166. To jeff brown: Ancient records do not confirm Arctic warming due to man. The present Arctic warming started at the turn of the twentieth century, after a two thousand year old cooling trend (Kaufman et al. Science 325:1236-1239). Such a sudden warming cannot be caused by carbon dioxide in the air because laws of physics require a simultaneous jump in its partial pressure and this did not happen. The only physical process capable of starting a sudden warming is a rearrangement of the North Atlantic current system that directed the Gulf Stream unto its present northerly course. There was a break in the warming from 1940 to 1960 after which it resumed. By 2003 Arctic temperature had recovered enough to reach the previous high point recorded in the thirties. In addition to the Gulf Stream a smaller amount of warm water enters through the Bering Strait in the west. Thanks to wind patterns an unusual amount of warm water entered through this strait in 2007 and cleared a large bubble of water ahead of it while the Gulf Stream side of the Arctic changed only a little. Forget the predictions you read about. These guys are working with a wrong theory of Arctic warming.

  167. tonyb says:
    May 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    As for anecdotal evidence being inferior to computer models (which even the IPCC admit are unreliable) here are a series of links demonstrating that ‘abnormality’ is the norm as far as sea ice melt is concerned
    I wasn’t implying that anecdotal evidence, such as ship captain’s logs, coastal Eskimo memories, or ancient Icelandic Sagas are “inferior” to computer models.

    I was implying that they are “inferior” to global climate variable measurements by satelliteS, ocean floats and other global measurements. The last 5 decades have been the best, most precise, total-planet measurements of climatology variables in the history of humanity. This level of detail is needed to figure out what is happening, now, with Earth’s climate. It is interesting to paleoclimatologists to study weird climate events in the past, but since the data is so coarse and vague, it doesn’t help much with current climate models. Yes, it has some value pointing out expected variability, but it has no explanatory value – no predictive value, other than vague expectations of “60 year ocean cycles” – or “maybe 70”. This is how ancient Egyptians did astronomy – lots of observations, notice of some patterns, and “predictions” like – “there might be an eclipse sometime this year. Or maybe next. One is due soon”.
    It took the Greeks to get Science rolling, and actually try to explain why eclipses happen, or what things are made of, etc. But they were grateful for the centuries of Egyptian, and Mesopotamian, observations that got them started. Just like the scientists were grateful to the South American fishermen that told them about El Nino.

    As for the current warming not being “abnormal” enough:
    If a doctor is treating a patient with a temperature of 104 °F, it doesn’t matter if some amateurs standing nearby start recounting stories of how they knew someone with a temperature of 1o4.5 °F, or 105 °F, or 106 °F once – and they wound up just fine after drinking water and resting in a cool place.
    The doctor must determine the exact cause of this hyperthermia, and that underlying cause must be corrected. Exertional hyperthermia is very different than Kawasaki syndrome, thyroid storm, sepsis, serotonin syndrome, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and certain drug effects – if you don’t want hyperpyrexia and death to follow, you better let the Dr. do his job.

    If the majority of climatologists are saying that this hyperthermia is being caused by CO2 buildup in the atmosphere, based on their detailed diagnosis, and it is going to get much worse, telling stories about some Vikings enjoying a warm century a thousand years ago before it got cooler for awhile, doesn’t really help.

    But I realize amateurs standing nearby love to talk… as do I.
    And it is interesting to read about past climate changes. I recently finished
    The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization by Brian Fagan:
    http://www.amazon.com/Long-Summer-Climate-Changed-Civilization/dp/0465022812

  168. R. Gates says:
    May 26, 2010 at 9:08 pm
    Jack Simmons says:
    May 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t really care what the arctic does.
    _____________
    I wonder if that is the common attitude of AGW skeptics? I would hope not, but if it is, it would explain a great deal…

    Yeah, some people actually think it is just a question of whether the polar bears survive or not…

    but if precipitation patterns change abruptly one half decade and global crops have dismal years and the grain stores are depleted and food prices quadruple, you will hear these same people screaming at “the Government” for “not having done something”.

    So what are global grain stores, what is a normal level of stores and should we be worried? According to the Energy Bulletin, “World carryover stocks of grain, the amount in the bin when the next harvest begins, are the most basic measure of food security. Whenever stocks drop below 60 days of consumption, prices begin to rise.”

    What would it mean if the world ran out of grain? For those of us who live in the developed world and who are so used to being able to get whatever food we want any time we want it, this is totally unimaginable. I guess that’s why we don’t even try to imagine it. For many in the developing world, this is already a daily reality.

    Regional civilizations have collapsed in the past due to regional climate change. Many people cannot even conceive of global civilization collapsing due to global climate change, much less assess what the risk is.

  169. @stevengoddard says:
    May 26, 2010 at 7:47 pm
    “The long path through the atmosphere probably reduces light by 90+%”

    Is that just UV?, as 90% of visible sounds pretty dim.
    The troposphere is 7 km deep at the poles and 17 km deep at the equator.

  170. Anu says:
    May 26, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Anu, if you are as worried as it looks like here, I think you owe it to yourselves to read Dr. Spencers latest book.

  171. Anu and Ulric Lyons

    Anu said

    “This level of detail is needed to figure out what is happening, now, with Earth’s climate. It is interesting to paleoclimatologists to study weird climate events in the past, but since the data is so coarse and vague, it doesn’t help much with current climate models. Yes, it has some value pointing out expected variability, but it has no explanatory value – no predictive value, other than vague expectations of “60 year ocean cycles” – or “maybe 70″.

    You then talked about the need to treat someone with a temperature of 104F and cite Brian Fagans work (who I have read before)

    That is the point Anu, I see a perfectly normal patient -based on my very long observations of him, not just the last two minutes- who has a temperature around normal, and not someone in a severe fever who is about to die. He certainly does not need to be put into intensive care.

    Al Gore also wrote an excellent book ‘Earth in the Balance’ back in 1992 in which he cited past climatic variability.

    I believe our civilisation is very vulnerable due to our mono cultures and the way we rely on fragile suipply chains, a subject explored well in Peter Taylors ‘Chill’. We are geared up to combating ‘warmth’ but not to dealing with the much worse consequences of cold.

    So sorry Anu, to me the patient appears normal based on all the evidence we see before us stretching back into the depths of history.

    Ulric Lyons

    I didn’t quote Mckenzie in the 15 links, although I have a reference I shall quote at the end. When I first read his book I was highly sceptical of his claims but eventually corresponded with him,. He does have access to some very interesting material which he is reluctant to put into the public domain as he may use it on future books.

    Undoubtedly the period of which he writes had some of the hottest summers that we can trace. It is probable that a Chinese fleet could have sailed via the Arctic route as described as we now know that ice is highly variable even year to year. I doubt it was entirely ice free but certainly likely to be more ice free than in most incidents since the Vikings.

    Here is the reference that I didn’t include with my 15 links sent in response to Anu earlier. There is a great deal of back up information available including web sites dedicated to pouring scorn on the authors claims.

    “Contrast that with events PRIOR to the LIA like Gavin Menzies’ maps of the Chinese voyages he postulates SIX centuries ago. LinkText Here If Menzies’ postulations bear out, the successful Chinese voyages may have prompted the later searches for the Northwest Passage.”

    tonyb

  172. @Anu says:
    May 26, 2010 at 9:32 pm
    “paleoclimatologists to study weird climate events in the past, but since the data is so coarse and vague”

    I think its analysis is coarse and vague. On CET, I have found a good number of event cycles, and SSN/temperature relationships, that seem to have been largely overlooked, and that can give, most of the time, a good idea of monthly temperature deviations from normals. Longer event cycles can be determined from written records of peak events such as major river freezings, very accurately, and from proxies for LIA and MWP type periods though the Holocene, we see the c.1157yr and 4627.33yr high and low event clusters. A one “size fits all” 60yr cycle that does not fit more than one step backwards in following real temperatures, does not cut the mustard with me one iota. Clearly the best computer models are grossly defficient, as we have witnessed by MetO seasonal forecasts, they can not tell you what the next 15 summers or winters will be like, and if you can`t do that, you can`t forecast climate.
    Cold winters during the Modern Warming, have occurred just when they should have, including the last two, and the only thing we can do to take the sting out of future cold winters, is elavate CO2 levels. But some studies would suggest even this would be in vain:
    http://www.rsc.org/Education/EiC/issues/2006May/endpoint.asp
    { 0.12K over the next 100 years}

  173. Anu says:
    Regional civilizations have collapsed in the past due to regional climate change. Many people cannot even conceive of global civilization collapsing due to global climate change, much less assess what the risk is.

    True. And that’s why it is imperative to STOP wasting time and money on this hoax that human fossil fuel use has any significant affect on climate so we must therefore cut back on it. The climate is going to change no matter what we do and fossil fuel has now become ESSENTIAL to feed the world.

    My fear is that progressives get their way and our food supply is reduced trying to plow fields with solar cells, fertilize with animal dung and then selling the food to some bio-fuel distillery for rich countries to burn in their machines.

    So after third world is already starving from that and we are patting ourselves on the back that we got CO2 back down to 350ppm.. THEN nature proves in some big way that we have nothing to do with it and gives us a huge extended drought or severe cold resulting in world starvation – and we are totally unprepared to respond to it because we wasted all of our resources on ‘green’ technology to make people like Al Gore and Maurice Strong rich.

    Then it’s too late. The way to save the planet for humanity is to make everyone RICH – not poor. The richest countries are the cleanest ones with the most static populations and, most importantly, the ones BEST able to deal with any disaster including climate disasters. (Does anyone expect the Zimbabwe navy to respond to a tsunami disaster area to supply water.)

  174. @stevengoddard says:
    May 27, 2010 at 5:47 am

    I can see 90% UV loss at higher lattitudes because of ozone distribution. Angle of incidence will make more difference at the suface contact area than depth of atmosphere travelled through, because of the shallower troposphere nearer the pole.
    The troposphere is 7 km deep at the poles and 17 km deep at the equator.
    At midday on the Autumn equinox, the Sun is nearly 10deg. above the horizon at 80deg. North, and 19deg above the horizon at 70deg. North.
    And often the Sun is far too bright to look at, at sunset, anywhere on the planet.

  175. Tommy says: May 26, 2010 at 11:35 am
    Steve Keohane says: May 26, 2010 at 7:17 am

    “Please explain how the Arctic area shrinks from a closer observation point.”

    By “Arctic area” do you mean the boundary of ice?

    No, I mean the shoreline of the arctic sea, that is the boundary.

    “Here is a scale drawing of the earth and the two points of observation. The satellite is obviously too close to capture the full diameter of the earth, so it is within the area where the relative size of the features can vary in area wrt the diameter of the earth, but not in the way you describe.”

    Good point. The diagram indeed explains that >50% of the surface is blocked by the horizon. In order to see the full diameter of the planet, the observation point would need to be at infinity distance, or the planet would need to be cut in half by divine intervention (preferably with me riding in a comfy cockpit of the satellite). As for the relative size of features, as an object gets closer, the nearest features should appear to enlarge at a faster rate than the farthest ones, unless the features themselves were changing in shape/size during the trip.

    Since the arctic sea is the closest feature in a top down, from the north, point of observation, it should by your description, and my thinking, be larger and it is not larger, it is relatively smaller to the diameter of the earth.

  176. R. Gates says: May 26, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    For some of you who may actually have the time and inclination to play with some atmospheric and ocean radiative transfer models yourself. Try:
    http://snowdog.larc.nasa.gov/jin/rtset.html
    And to play with albedo, windspeed, longitude, etc, try:
    http://snowdog.larc.nasa.gov/jin/albedofind.html

    Interesting, not relevant here though. Your first link only allows for SUB-arctic atmospheric modeling. The second proves there is little to no change wrt wind/waves and albedo. Results below for a 45° angle of incidence:
    Wind Speed (MPH) Albedo
    1 .037
    2 .036
    3 .036
    4 .036
    8 .036
    16 .037
    32 .037

  177. From above: Thickness of atmosphere (polar) = 7 km. NASA quotes a lower atmosphere thickness as 7 miles, or 12 km, or 39,000 feet; but many clouds are much higher than that.

    Use the 100,000 foot “edge of space” where the atmosphere turns black to the naked eye. 30.48 km.

    From AutoCAD, using a polar radius of 6356 km as a circle.
    Tilt it 23.5 degrees from vertical to show the sun’s angles at mid-summer – June 21-22. Every point further north of the Arctic circle will receive some sunshine, and theorectically at least, heat up some.
    Plot (from south to north) these points:
    Canadian Arctic Circle = CAC at 66.5 degrees north,
    Canadian 80 north = C80N,
    North Pole (90 degrees),
    Russian 80 North = R80N,
    Russian Arctic Circle = RAC also at 66.5 degrees north

    Distance the sunlight travels through a 30.5 km thick stmosphere at each of these points, and the incident angle of sunlight is:

    CAC = 41.6 km atmosphere (absorb) at 49.1 incident deg => sin 49.1 = .756 max
    C80N = 54.9 km atmosphere (absorb) at 36.5 deg incident => sin 36.5 = .594 max
    NP = 75.5 km atmosphere (absorb) at 25.9 deg => sin 25.9 = .436 max
    R80N = 125.5 km atmosphere (absorb) at 15.9 deg => sin 15.9 = .273 max
    RAC = 623.2 km atmosphere (absorb) at 0.0 deg => sin 0.0 = .000 max

    Keep in mind that virtually all of sunlight is reflected off of the surface of the water at less than 21 degrees, so only half of the light supposedly available during a “24 hour polar day” could actually be absorbed under ANY combination of ice coverage or open water.

    Only that part of the Arctic receiving sunlight at an incident angle greater than 21 degrees can absorb heat, and – as the earth rotates around the north pole the incident angle is will decrease from maximum to minimum and back to maximum. As a good approximation for 80 north, once the earth has rotated 6 hours, the incident angle is less than this 21-22 degree point when all of the light (and heat) energy is reflected.

    We must also address the change in seasons: this AutoCAD drawing is only correct for one day a year, every other day will further decrease absorption values.

  178. kwik says:
    May 26, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Anu, if you are as worried as it looks like here, I think you owe it to yourselves to read Dr. Spencers latest book.

    I admire Roy’s tenacity in the face of overwhelming disagreement from most of his colleagues, but I really can’t forgive him mis-processing the NASA satellite data for decades at UAH. Not only did he and Dr. Christy get it so wrong for so long, but they ignored repeated calls by their colleagues to check again if they had overlooked something, since their work disagreed with most other work. Not only did they not find their errors (found by outside researchers in 2005), but trumpeted their erroneous results for many, many years as “proving” Global Warming was “wrong”.
    This is scientific malpractice, and taxpayers should be screaming for their heads.

    I’m not that interested in his “Intelligent Cloud Design” ideas on Earth’s climate, but I find it interesting that he is also “skeptical” about Evolution and a proponent of the other “Intelligent Design”.

  179. Vincent says:
    May 26, 2010 at 8:17 am
    Anu,

    “No, each further doubling would produce another 3 °C of warming. That’s pretty much the definition of climate sensitivity.”

    To argue what the future climate will be as the result of modelled outputs of a poorly understood non linear system is not even funny. It’s just dumb.
    That’s why they use paleoclimate data from the Ice Ages to estimate climate sensitivity. Lot’s of people spent many man-centuries on the work.

    But you’re right, I’m sure Science is hopeless.

  180. Gail Combs says:
    May 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Did it ever disappear entirely in the summer melt during these times ?

    Yes it probably melted around 1000 AD – the Vikings
    Here are the Greenland temperatures: Greenland Ice Core Data
    Please note, during the time when the vikings (Norse) were in Greenland, Greenland was a full 2C warmer than today.

    What do you mean by “today” – 1898 ?
    Because the Greenland Ice Sheet Project Two (GISP2) drilled that ice core in 1993:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/document/gispinfo.htm
    and the most recent data in that core was 0.095 thousand years ago:
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/gisp2/isotopes/gisp2_temp_accum_alley2000.txt

    I hear Greenland is much warmer these days than in 1898, even at the surface of an ice sheet hundreds of miles from the warming effect of the nearest ocean.

    Yes it probably melted around 1000 AD – the Vikings
    Oh, that’s nice.
    People scream that Dr. Hansen shouldn’t be allowed to extrapolate from 3 different stations all within 1200 km of an Arctic “data point”, but here you are, asserting that a single data point in the center of Greenland’s vast ice sheet is just fine for estimating the entire Arctic temperature. Not even “temperature anomaly”, but “temperature”.

    “Skeptics” sure are forgiving of sloppy methods when they like the results.

    BTW, the Arctic Circle is 5,209.127 km wide, measuring across the North Pole.
    Extending this single data point “temperature estimate” to sub-Arctic globe positions, such as the Bering Sea, is even more of a stretch.

    If everyone is bleating “It’s Melting” today then during the period 986 to 1121, when we know the Norse were sailing in that area to hunt whale, seal and polar bears, it would have to have been ice free during the summer.
    “that area” ?
    Even journeys like Amundsen travelling the Northwest Passage took many years – 1903 to 1906. All that means is every summer, the ice shifts, and if you’re lucky, you can sail a bit farther before you have to stop again because of winter ice.

    Look at three different summer ice extents (not even the 2007 minimum):



    Every summer, a different path is opened up. Over years, people back in 1000 AD could get to almost any land in the Arctic.

    Wtihout satellite data, you will have a difficult time proving that the Arctic was ever “ice free” in the summer back in 1000 AD or 1300 BC.
    One data point is not going to cut it. That’s why the current Arctic climate research is not limited to a single data station on Greenland.

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